Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hate Speech (Spoken or Tweeted) is Racism

 Ames McNamar wearing feminine clothing
He played Roseanne's grandson on the show
I am not sad to see the Roseanne reboot sitcom go down in flames. I do not take pleasure in anyone's public shaming, even by their own doing. ABC knew what they were getting when the revival show was put in place.  Roseanne Barr has made no secret of her outright bigotry and contempt for the LGBT community.  Slayer.com made the following observation last month before Tuesday's big blowup.

Barr’s public disgust at transgender people dates back to a 2001 book in which she describes transgender women as “a huge guy with boobs talking about female hormones and deciding to keep his penis.” In 2012 Barr mocked Green Party candidate Jill Stein for declining to debate her, tweeting, “Jill is also in favor of letting men into spaces where young girls get changed,' and 'Women do not want your penises forced in their faces or in our private bathrooms. Respect that FACT.'

Many people liked the show, including my adult daughter. ABC had attempted to dilute the criticism of the show within the LGBTQ community by the fact that Barr’s TV show grandson, Mark, is depicted as gender nonconforming. And Roseanne's producer Sara Gilbert is a lesbian. Mark wouldn’t be problematic if the show’s star didn’t have a virulently anti-transgender streak. 

Enough said.  ABC did the right thing Tuesday when it canceled Roseanne. The amazing part of the sordid affair is that a corporation put sensibility ahead of profit. 

I grew up in a place and time when white Americans could compare African-Americans to animals with impunity. In fact, racist segregation was the law where I lived. Separate was not equal and discrimination / racism was wrong then and wrong now.

Make no mistake — these types of racist remarks and incidents have been happening for a long time. For one moment let us look at another source of racist hate speech and actions; Trump.  

For instance, while Donald Trump never compared Barack Obama to an animal, he did — as Barr did with Jarrett — suggest Obama might be a terrorist. And Trump, of course, launched his national political career on the wings of the “birther” lie that Obama, the nation’s first black president, was not a "real American". Implied - Only white Americans are real Americans!  

As president, Trump has suggested that Nigerians live in huts while describing Haiti and countries in Africa as “shitholes.” He defended white supremacists who marched with torches and chanted anti-Semitic slogans as “some very fine people.”  He has defended Confederate monuments, pardoned racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and vilified African American NFL players who were peacefully protesting police brutality by saying they “shouldn’t be in the country.”

Hate speech (spoken or Tweeted) by anyone is blatant racism. My hope is that hate speech is now seen for what it is. Thank you, ABC, for standing tall. Maybe this will become a tipping point or a learning experience, as some are calling it. 


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Is Gender Neutrality a Transgender Precursor?

My Mother and Grandmother
(Love the dress)
I was raised by adoring grandparents. They were meant to be grandparents and before I came along several other kids in the neighborhood would hang out with them. My mother had me a little later in life than the typical 1940’s parent and from baby pictures I can see the proud smile on my grandmothers face. My father was absent and totally out of the picture by age 6.  About this time my mother contracted cancer and fought a losing battle for about 5 years. Much of my raising and home life fell to, my more than willing and loving, grandparents.

Early years for me were gender natural. I have no way of knowing if that was my choice (is now) or just the luck of the draw.  My grandfather was a wonderful role model. A man’s man of that day, in that he worked the general store, farm and many of his activities centered around the typical male’s role of the day. Although he did fully accepted my grandmother as a partner in the business and the two had a wonderful close relationship.     


I had a close relationship with both grandparents and a wonderful childhood. I am very aware of how fortunate.    

There was no judgment or negativity associated when I ask for dolls. Equally, when I asked for wagons and outdoor toys, they arrived at Christmas/birthdays as well. I remember vividly playing my mothers shoes. I knew even then that she had more stylish shoes than my grandmother, so favored hers over my grandmother’s.  She also had beautiful dresses that I adored. 

Fast forward - Has society moved to a place where gender-neutral activity is acceptable? Yes and no.  Elissa Strauss wrote a recent article entitled “Why girls can be boyish but boys can't be girlish”. 

Here is the lead:

His (my son) world is blissfully, ignorantly gender-neutral. In the fall, he'll be heading to elementary school, and I was thinking it might be time to explain to him that as natural as his love for this sweatshirt (a girls) is, there are a lot of people who find a boy in a girl's sweatshirt unnatural and won't hesitate to let him know. The hardest part of this conversation will be what, inevitably, will follow. He, a scrupulous monitor of fairness in matters large and small, will ask whether there are also things people think girls shouldn't wear. I, remorsefully, will have to tell him "no."

Is gender natural activity a precursor for being transgender?  I can only answer from my perspective.  My gender neutrality was a safe place or an outward expression of being transgender. Gender neutrality facilitates being open-minded and accepting of oneself. The transgender component is action or movement past the center of being neutral. In my opinion, the two are mutually exclusive. However, could being gender natural be a gateway or mask for being transgender?  That would make for a great study.  

I am just so fortunate to have been raised by grandparents that were loving and helped me to grow up "accepting of myself".  One of the greatest gifts any parent can give.

The Elissa Strauss article (spoiler alert) draws this beautiful conclusion on child rearing. 

"He also doesn't need my protection. He needs my support, a beaming mom waving from the sidelines as he seeks to make his version of well-behaved history..."

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Simplicity Wins

I am always watching for simple everyday looks. An outfit that works for a walk in the mall, grocery shopping, or lunch with girlfriends. Real world stuff. Nothing beats the casual and put-together look of a crisp white top and jeans.  A quick change of shoes takes the combination from casual to outdoor cafĂ© chic. I know that skinny jeans are today's look but I have leg-fitting issues, so I stick with boot cute.  

Jean in all varieties seem to never go out of style and will not break the bank.  Sure you can pay $450 for Nortdstom's designer jeans or pay $29.00 for Macy's Style&Co. Your choice. The great thing about jeans; jeans are jeans. Paired with the right white top, stripe or solid t-shirt you can still look feminine.   

Susan after 60
Dressing Hack: I always carry/take a second pair of shoes. After a lunch or meeting where I wear heels, I will slip on a pair of flats or low heels to run by the mall, before heading home. My feet always thank me.

Susan over at Susan After 60 always has wonderful advice and showcases great looks. I hope you read and study her blog that is a permanent link on my site. I found this photo of Susan on Pinterest and I believe it to be a few years ago. Susan's hair is a little shorter today. My point, this look of a white tunic top and jeans with heels, looks so “put-together”. Thank you Susan for your wonderful advice and being a friend.   

Give it a try. I do utilize this look and it works every time.  I feel confident and that is the goal.  A simple, "this works” outfit.  You never have to over-do. Simplicity Wins!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas
I have a 7 day cruise coming up the end of June on Royal Caribbean's "Allure of the Seas".  I am so excited! I live within an hours drive of Fort Lauderdale's, Port Everglades and have never taken a cruise. Shame on me. Starting on one of the world's largest passenger ship in service, will be a thrill; 362.12 meters (1,188.1 ft). The ship features a two-deck dance hall, a theater with 1,380 seats, an ice skating rink/show, 7 distinct "neighborhoods", 25 dining options and has a capacity of 5492 passengers. The Allure of the Seas is a floating city with many options and things to do. Quite the first cruise.  

I plan on boarding in a reasonable facsimile of Rhonda and then being/remaining Rhonda for the duration of the cruise; including pool time, ship exploring, and the "formal dining evenings".  Oh darn - "must go shopping."  Recently I experienced extended holidays in Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Southern California Wine Country and I go/do everywhere here at home.  I never have airline or TSA difficulties and only one minor passport question; "is that really you?" 

I have a question and seek the help of my loyal readers - Likely someone has done this and will have suggestions. This trip may present challenges in that it is cashless and utilizes pay (ID) cards, that bill back to your account. Settlement occurs at the end of the cruise. All activities and meals will utilize this ID. I have already uploaded Rhonda's photo that will be part of the ID. After boarding, I plan on requesting an ID update with a name and/or at least a nick-name, that will match my presentation thus eliminating some confusion.    

Does anyone have suggestions?  I found only one meaningful post on the independent Cruise Critic blog. Work is also being done with the travel agent and she is checking into options.  I have about 4 weeks to work out these details.              

Suggestion will be appreciated so please comment. I promise to post lots of photos and chronicle this potential marvelous ESCAPE.  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Friend's Friday - Conversation Starters

Cover Girl - Caitlin last Thursday in Palm Beach 
Whenever Rhonda and I go out we make a special effort to talk to people.  We talk to the folks next to us at the bar, at the table next to us, the wait-staff, the taxi driver, the doorman…anyone we meet.  And we’ve had some VERY interesting conversations and met some very interesting people…it’s such fun!

Twelve years ago I had never spoken to any other human being while I was dressed…and I’ve been dressing since I was five years old!  I just couldn’t stand the isolation anymore and I decided that my life in the closet had to end.  So I bucked up the courage to speak to people and that act profoundly changed my life.  I remember going into a restaurant with a group of trans women at the first Keystone Conference in Harrisburg.  

A woman who was with her husband at the bar gave me a glance and a smile as I passed by.  When we returned from dinner she was still there.  She smiled.  I smiled.  I said, “I’ll bet you have a question…” Her face lit up and she said, “oh, I do!  I do!”  We spent the next hour talking about what it was like to be trans.  I guess that’s where it all started.  “I’ll bet you have a question…” is just perfect for women…especially married women in the company of their husbands.  It’s non-threatening and if they don’t want to talk they can simply say, “no, I don’t have a question,” I’ve probably used this conversation starter a hundred times over the years and I have yet to find a woman to say, “no.”

There are lots of other conversation starters, of course.  I try to form questions that are a) open-ended (so I don’t get a “yes” or “no” answer), b) that are unusual or even just jarring enough to make the person turn off their “autopilot.”  Let’s list a few below:

  • If you were in charge of the playlist, what song would you play next?
  • Why did you come here tonight?
  • What’s your favorite part about living here?  What’s the least favorite?
  • Do you think [this city] is a place most people move to or move from?  Why?
  • What do you miss most about leaving your last town…and what were you happy to leave behind?
  • Since you live here, what [restaurant, event, museum, points of interest] should I try not to miss.
  • If you had to switch outfits with one person here, who would it be?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?  Why?
  • You remind me of a celebrity, but I’m having trouble remembering their name…Who are you normally compared to?
  • I’ve got a big decision ahead of me and I could use your advice.  Should I have [Appetizer #1] or [Appetizer #2]?  Smile.

There is probably nothing better than a friendly smile to start any conversation.  Showing others that you are approachable and open signals that you are interested in engaging and that you won’t reject them.  Try a few of my questions the next time you’re out.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the positive response you get.  Success builds success.  

Hugs to all,


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Classes for Confidence

Sephora is offering a new series of classes celebrating inclusivity and catering to the transgender and nonbinary community.

The classes are the third initiative in a series of in-store programming that Sephora launched in 2016 with Classes for Confidence, complimentary in-store workshops for people experiencing major life transitions. Previous classes, for example, have offered “techniques and products that address the visible effects of cancer treatments.”

Sephora’s transgender cast members ― the brand’s name for its employees ― developed and will host the series. They held their first preview on May 22 in New York City.

Sephora “held focus groups and worked with our employees experiencing their own gender journeys to help determine class content, sensitivity training procedures, and to help figure out which stores would make the most sense,” Corrie Conrad, head of social impact and sustainability at Sephora, told the publication Them.

The trans and nonbinary community is a beloved part of our community and we want to be allies. That’s the point of all our programming: Whether you’re entering the workforce or questioning your gender, that’s a major life transition. We want to be there for you,” 

Source: Huffpost 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Feminine Differential - Fashion Versatility

Wearing Something more than one way.  

I found this sweater on Nordstrom. It could make for a great casual look with jeans or look dressy with a short flare skirt or dress pants. What makes this such a great feminine differential is that a single fashion piece can be worn more than one way.  A warm winter sweater with a matching infinity scarf look or a spring flirty off-the-shoulder look.  

Shop looking for pieces that serve more than one look.  Almost a 2-for-1 but best of all, allows for playing with your look and style.  "Let's be a flirt today" and show some shoulder.  I love feminine fashion. 

Here the link to this item on Nordstrom - Convertible Neck Knit Pullover. $49.00 in both regular and petite and multiple colors. 

Enjoy and most important - ESCAPE.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Transgender Hot Line

Trans Lifeline is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the well being of transgender people. We run a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people. Trans Lifeline volunteers are ready to respond to whatever support needs members of our community might have. Trans Lifeline is accredited by Contact USA.

This line is primarily for transgender people experiencing a crisis. This includes people who may be struggling with their gender identity and are not sure that they are transgender. While our goal is to prevent self harm, we welcome the call of any transgender person in need. We will do our very best to connect them with services that can help them meet that need. If you are not sure whether you should call or not, then please call us.

Our hotline is staffed by the true experts on transgender experience, transgender people themselves. Our volunteers are all trans identified and educated in the range of difficulties transgender people experience. Our volunteers are dedicated to improving the lives of transgender people.

Additionally, our operators will only call emergency services with your expressed consent.  See the FAQ page for additional information.

US: (877) 565-8860 CANADA: (877) 330-6366


Write this number down!  You never know when you or a friend may need someone.  No reason to be ashamed - we have all been there.  

Monday, May 21, 2018

When do You Tell People you're Transgender - Quora Question

I do not know exactly how to explain Quora if you not already a subscriber.  It's self description goes like this: "Quora is a question-and-answer site where questions are asked, answered, edited, and organized by its (Quora) community of users."  It is like an intelligent version of YouTube where you can bounce for narrative to narrative and literally kill hours of idle or productive time. 

I am one of the community of users in that I get notices and can comment on others questions or comments. A little like the early bullion board systems (BBS) where there is a stream to thought going and any member can jump in. There sees to be in inordinate number of question in aviation, religion, politics and being transgender. 

A few days back I found this question on Quora: 

 If you're a transgender person who passes easily, when, (if at all) do you typically tell people you're transgender?

Emily L Rizzo Counselor
I have followed before Emily Rizzo and appreciated her take to this question.  I have it written below as noticed this morning that many more answers/comments have been added.  

Emily's comment:

"First of all I'm starting to think that using the term passing does me more harm than good. It is not fair to characterize myself as passing if my goal is to look like what I'm supposed to look like, right? I think a more accurate description is to say that I look feminine.

So here is the thing, if I look feminine (and just to be clear that is my goal) and being feminine speaks to the heart of who I am as a person and people who interact with me accept me as such then why would I want to confuse them?

And let's not kid ourselves the general cisgender public gets confused about transgender people. We're not confusing or confused mind you. But nevertheless people still get confused at the mere mention of the word transgender.

So I'm beginning to think that it's not me being transgender that confuses them it's the actual word transgender that confuses them. People understand gender and gender roles so when they hear trans and transition and add that to gender well they draw a reasonably understandable conclusion that I'm someone who switched from being male to being female and I can't say I blame them for drawing that conclusion.

If you know nothing else about the word transgender other than the meaning of the prefix and it's word then what else are you supposed to think? But I'm not proposing to call myself something else entirely.

I'm excited about finally having a label to describe how I've felt my whole life. This label has put me in contact with countless of other people just like me. It's let me know I'm not all alone so I'm not giving it up.

What I propose is a careful education of the cisgender people that I interact with everyday. I want them to understand what it means to be female, what are my expectations of them as they interact with me. I, just like many other women in my position have no desire to give my medical and psychological history to every Tom, Dick and Harry that crosses my path. It doesn't concern them and it doesn't benefit me either.

However for educational purposes I'm not shy or ashamed of who I am and of my experience as a woman so far, so if the situation arises that I can elucidate on the transgender confusion and create a teachable moment then I will not hesitate to lay myself bare on the alter of knowledge.

But let me be clear I will not allow myself to become the entertainment for close minded bigots and transphobes!"



Thank you so much Emily. Very well said!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Sad and Angry - A Call to Action

I have been touched more than I want to admit concerning the latest episode of insanity based school gun violence.  Several times yesterday I was at near tears.  My emotion ran from deep sadness to anger.  Sadness that young children are going to school in fear and will be forever scared.  Anger at our political leaders that pander to the gun lobby and do nothing.  

As individuals, we do not make laws. We elect representatives that make laws.  As voters we have a responsibility to elect and hold our leaders to a standard of common good / common sense. I have failed - We have failed.  If I don’t speak up; you don’t speak up, this will continue.  

History is not going to look kindly on those who did nothing during this time of a national tragedy. On which side of this ludicrous episode of America’s history are you?  

Money Talks

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friend's Friday - May Meetup Group

Photos from my Meetup group's May cocktail party. We meet once a month and talk, laugh, and enjoy. There is a piano and typically someone will play and sing as we all gather around. There are always plenty of munchies provided by the wonderful "Raindancer Steak House" and all are invited to stay for dinner on a special menu in the main dining room; top right photo. Excellent food - Thank you Spiro, Nikki and Jody. In my opinion The Best Restaurant in West Palm Beach. 

Don't belong to Meetup group - JOIN! Don't have one in your area - START ONE! Thank you Charlie, for your many years of effort keeping this group going. 

Always a fun social ESCAPE

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Art Meets Life

Source: CNN Fashion

Daniel Lismore
Swathed in layers of material, ornaments and jewelry, a soft-spoken artist named Daniel Lismore proclaims that this is his "version of a T-shirt and shorts."

Lismore has long had a reputation as one of London's most flamboyant dressers, each day flying the flag for individuality with his eye-catching ensembles. His outfits serve as a form of statement, sculpture and even armor.

In this short film, he talks about how his singular sense of style has helped him to break down social boundaries and overcome a shy childhood.

"I don’t see dressing as a practical thing. It is extension of myself and also it is vision of myself, an image I have in my head to see how the world will be to me; How it is going to react. Dressing is a powerful thing".  Daniel


Scott "Sussi" Sussman

There is a new generation of club kids in London, and among the most recognizable of them is Scott "Sussi" Sussman. With huge red lips, a gap tooth and a widow's peak, his signature look is unmistakable.

As we enter the hedonistic world of London at night, Sussi speculates on the power of dressing up, externalizing your imagination and how nightclubs can be a "womb-like experience."

"Everyone has their own identity inside of them. What drag and dressing up allows you to do, is take the person you wish you were on the inside and put it on the outside. Inner imagination turning into the outside. The second you cross the threshold into doing (this) you are free."  Sussi

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

My Nautical Spring '18

This is a cute and practical fashion layout.  I built it around a White House Black Market 3/4-SLEEVE STRIPED KNIT TOP.  It fits better than any others I have and has a feminine flair that provides a great nautical look. It’s origin - The Breton striped shirt, typically characterized as a cotton top with blue sailor-like stripes. The style was introduced in 1858 as the uniform for the French navy.  Historically the original design featured 21 stripes, one for each of Napoleon Bonaparte’s victories and the distinctive stripes made it easier to spot wayward sailors who had fallen overboard.  Fashion with purpose. 

It was popularized by Coco Channel when the iconic designer was so inspired by the sailors’ uniform that she incorporated the stripes into her 1917 nautical collection.  As far as basics go, the Breton striped shirt is as necessary as a black blazer or a pair of dark-wash skinny jeans, The allure of the Breton stripe shirt lies in its versatility. It looks great with most everything from very dressy solid blue or white palazzo pants to jeans or shorts.  Plus, it has been in style for several yeas now - a keeper. 

Above I have pared it with Talbots’, “High-Waist Wide-Leg Sailor Pant”.  They come in both white and navy, with contrasting side buttons.  It took several tries in the store to get the right size and length but once on and properly fit, they are great.  What I like is the fact, they are high waisted and plain in the front. Any shirt or blouse will lay flat across the front. Second, they are side-closure; in this case buttons. This allows for a great feminine form-fitting back and front.  This is where getting the proper size is important. 

The shorts are Lilly Pulitzer White Buttercup Shorts.  I love the hem that has a scallop look and over the years come in a variety or length for 5" to 3" (short-shorts).  The cut on these  do a beautiful job to enhance the back look.  Shown here is the Lilly 4" Dahlia Shorts in navy. You can see the cute hem better.   

The shoes take the outfit for casual to dressy. The cork open toe wedge pumps would work great for any outdoor event and will peek beautifully out of either the white or blue version or the pants. The Sam Edelman Hazel Stripe Pumps are this season and are elegant.  The Tory Burch Minnie flats are almost as comfortable as "no shoes" and can be found in many variations and colors. 

The white leather purse is Cole Haan, which is sold out. I watched this purse for a year on-line and purchased for 75% off; patience.  The Sunglasses are Tiffany & Co. and always look great.     

Enjoy this season-after-season essential.

Coco Chanel drew inspiration for her 1917
nautical collection from the French sailors.
The striped top she designed
 was designed to be worn with flared trousers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Feminine Differential - Lingerie

Few words evoke passion or a smile like the French word for undergarments.  Likely the first garment you tried on and noticed it provided an emotional response. Females see it as a vehicle to enhance their femininity and males see it as alluring. Some see it a both.  

The word's etymology helps us to understand more:

The word lingerie is a word taken directly from the French language, meaning undergarments, and used exclusively for more lightweight items of female undergarments. The French word in its original form derives from the old French word linge, meaning 'linen'. So faire le linge, comes to mean "do the laundry". In French the word lingerie applies to all undergarments for either sex. In English it means women's underwear or nightclothes. Lingerie as a word was first used to refer to underwear and bras in 1922. Informal usage suggests visually appealing or even erotic clothing. Although most lingerie is designed to be worn by women, some manufactures now design lingerie for men.

Lingerie is made of lightweight, stretchy, smooth, sheer or decorative fabrics such as silk, satin, Lycra, charmeuse, chiffon or (especially and traditionally) lace."  (Wikipedia) 

Above are my favorites and "goto" every day lingerie items:  

The Bra - JC Penney,  Ambrielle Mystique Push Up Plunge Bra   My tag shown to the right.  The cute little bow in the center is perfect.  

Don't get me started on how we must match our undergarments to what we are wearing on the outside. That is a whole "Feminine Differential" far and above the basic undergarments. 


Monday, May 14, 2018

Fashion and The 70's

I was browsing eBay checking my sales when I noticed other jeans skirts like the ones I have for sale.  There was one skirt that I love - a vintage Levi two zip jeans skirt. "I must not buy - I must not buy." 

OK, I feel better. The urge will pass.  The two front/side zippers brought back a wonderful memory of the Levi jeans shown in the layout here.  The decade was the  70’s and I had that pair. Although not at all "out" like I am now, I wore them all the time on weekends, fully knowing they were a female cut and look. I guess I did not care and thought they were really cute; still do think they are cute.

To add to the androgynous look I had a pair of the Reebok Princess Sneakers. Love the name. Both the regular and the hightop variety as showed.  Every now and again I would see the Princess sneakers on another man but lacked the nerve to ask if they knew they were a woman’s style. Then again I was never approached either. They were super comfortable. 

Just two of the boundaries I pushed. The 70’s were a magic time for fashion. Men and woman’s bell bottom (flair as they call them now) jeans, platform shoes, white suits and disco. Did you have a white polyester  suit?  I did. 

If you were alive in the '70 you remember the iconic fashion in the film, Saturday Night Fever. According to Style Fashion:

On seeing John Travolta strut down a New York street in the opening credits of what became a career defining performance, Fred Astaire was moved to remark that John Travolta had simply had 'it'. In 1977 the 'it' in question was one of the most stylish film performances of all time.

Any 70’s fashion trends / disasters you would like to share?
Come on - you were there....