Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Fashion in the Wild - Pride in Shopping

Style does not have to break the bank and can still involve shopping at quality stores/online merchants.  The centerpiece of this outfit is the top.  It is still available for purchase and black goes with everything. The other pieces have been in my closet for a number of years. Investment shopping can scan seasons and trends.   

First the top. It is Boston Proper's " Slub keyhole boyfriend tee".  I got it a few weeks ago for $17.00 and this week it is now available for $12. It is sexy and I got many complements last evening at the Colony, Palm Beach, where the photo was taken.  I have good luck with Boston Proper, although many of the items, shall we say, tend to be youthful. Choose with caution.   

The heels are Cole Haan, purchased in wide a few season ago and are wear-all-night comfortable. It is well worth waiting for Cole Haan's sales. The skirt is also from a few seasons ago and was purchased at Banana Republic. Again, always watch for their sale. Banana Republic will randomly offer 50% off new merchandise.  The belt is a stretch number from Amazon.  


Monday, April 29, 2019

Is The Future Unisex?

When writers and filmmakers depict the future, they often include one strange detail: men and women dressing alike; genderless. In most of the sci-fi even going back to the early Star Treck series, men and women wore the same styles. So are we to assume that the future will have us all dressing the same?  What? No dresses, skirts, corsets, and heels?

What is genderless fashion anyway? According to Lia McGarrigle writing in HIGHSNOBIETY, Fashion Is Moving Toward a Genderless Future:

Of course, from a streetwear perspective, the idea of men, women, or non-binary people wearing the same clothes doesn’t seem new. But the key difference is that while streetwear is worn by everyone, the vast majority of it is made for and marketed to men.

The aim of genderless fashion is to break free from the gender restrictions codified in the clothes we wear. To put it simply, designers are seeking to give consumers the freedom to explore what they want to wear without worrying that their choices say anything about their sexuality or gender.

As Clemens puts it, “It’s not about putting a dress on a guy or whatever — it’s just clothes that look good on everyone.”

Zara's Genderless Clothing 
In my 2016 post, I quoted from the CNN Style article "Unisex Fashion Trends and Gender Equality". Also worth noting that about that same time, Selfridges of UK installed Agender, a temporary pop-up section of the department store that focused on genderless or gender-neutral clothing. Even high-street brands such as H&M and Zara have released genderless lines, although they have been called out for utilizing a one-sided, more classically masculine selection.  Yuck!

In my opinion one would think that there would be some blending or an ever so slight nod to the feminine; just in case some would want some flair or individuality. Much of the unisex fashion today hides the feminine figure and just makes women look like men.  

Some see gender lines being blurred in clothing as a way to demonstrate equality of the sexes or freedom from sexual roles. That is true in that everyone should have the freedom to wear what pleases. Personally, I hope that in the future, there will always be room for style and a place to express one's individuality. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Friend's Friday - Making Lemonade

I had wonderful comments on my Monday post, “The Science of Transgender”. Thank you all. I really want this blog to be two-way communication.  

That post was not at all new information for those of us that study and absorb all we can on being transgender. I wanted to mentioned my personal observation along with the theoretical science.  I am certainly not unique.      

How the effects of DES on the unborn could have been dismissed in the first place, is near criminal; and why it took so long to ban the substance is likewise indefensible. Also, the exponential rate of growth in breast cancer is more than peripheral.  And yes, physiologically, gender is complicated enough without throwing dysphoria into the mix.

Development of female breast cancer mortality

One need go no further than the graphs found in Cancer Trends During the 20th Century, as published in the Journal of Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine for the answer. See for yourself how cancer rates evolved in Sweden during the 20th Century

In my case, I have never considered my being transgender a debilitating condition.  Like my dyslexia, it is part of me and is not going away. Something to be dealt with. Knowing the possible why, on the transgender issue, only satisfies my inquisitive nature; changing nothing. The fix does is not in the why.  

The old adage about making lemonade comes into action. A long time ago I came to the realization that owning being transgender could be insightful, fun and exciting. We do not suffer from "multiple personality disorder" by being being transgender, and the sooner we reconcile our male/female sides the better person we become as a whole.  

As a positive, I have had the privilege of knowing some of the most interesting and intelligent individuals ever. Diversity reigns and forces us to look past the superficial and see the person inside. Many of the blogs that discuss being transgender and life’s issues are articulate and super thought-provoking. Thank you. Few understand the effort writing a blog entails. 

My advice for what is's worth – if you are transgender be the best transgender person you can. Live life to the full. Put your best panties/boxers on and make some sweet lemonade.  

Again, thank you for your comments.  

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Johnny Depp's Harem Fantasy

Johnny Depp  - Don Juan DeMarco 1995 

Johnny Depp is no stranger to outlandish costumes;  Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994) more on that later, and many more. There are several scenes from the movie Don Juan DeMarco (1994) that I vividly remember.

TVTROPS has this synopsis on the movie:

The eponymous character, 21-year-old John R. DeMarco (Johnny Depp) is a charming young man who customarily dresses in a long cape and domino mask, and introduces himself as the legendary seducer Don Juan. Following a thwarted suicide attempt (prompted by a rejection from "the only (woman) who has ever mattered"), he's sent to a mental institution for treatment. A sympathetic psychiatrist, Dr. Jack Mickler (Marlon Brando) takes his case, and is given ten days to cure John of his delusions before his own retirement. But their analytical sessions have an unexpected effect; John's over-the-top romanticism and appealing (if wildly improbable) tales of sexual conquest affect his would-be healer more than himself. Dr. Mickler is inspired to spice up his marriage to still-beautiful Marilyn (Faye Dunaway), whilst developing serious doubts whether John/ Don Juan should be 'cured' at all. "(I need) to get into this world that he’s in, and it’s a wonderful world."

In the movie, the character Don Juan DeMarco, "greatest lover of all time",  recounts many of his romantic fantasies in vivid detail. The one that stuck with me was the harem story.  I do not remember too many of the details other than the scenes with Don Juan (Depp) in full harem costume. Looking every bit the harem girl, he is beautiful. Those scenes have stuck with me for well over 20 years. Love the outfits.  See more stills from the movie here.  

Do you have a harem maiden fantasy?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Why Should You Care About Gerrymandering?

Brian Mast
Representative for Florida's 18th Congressional District
Gerrymandering is a practice intended to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries. In addition to its use achieving desired electoral results for a particular party, gerrymandering may be used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a political, ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious, or class group, such as in U.S. federal voting district boundaries that produce a majority of constituents representative of African-American or other racial minorities, known as "majority-minority districts". Gerrymandering can also be used to protect incumbents. (Wikipedia)

We like to think that we have competitive congressional elections, but the district itself can have more to do with who wins an election than the candidate and his/her ideas. This spells trouble for our democracy. I did not have to look very far to see the results of gerrymandering. 

Brian Mast my Representative for Florida's 18th congressional district since January 3, 2017, seems to be a likable guy. A political unknown who rode in on the Trump wave of 2016 is a Republican and war hero. While deployed in Afghanistan, he worked as a bomb disposal expert under the elite Joint Special Operations Command. The last improvised explosive device that he found resulted in catastrophic injuries, which included the loss of both of his legs.

I applaud his valor, courage and willingness to serve. He deserves the honor of now representing his (my) district in Congress. My problem is not why he is serving, but how it came about.  

The Florida's 18th congressional district spans three very diverse counties; St. Lucie County on the north, Martin County in the middle and Northern Palm Beach County, (Jupiter where I live). The northern counties are largely rural and historically, Republican. Thus no matter how the southern area of the district votes, which is largely Democratic, the District will be represented by a Republican. Voter cherry picking or gerrymandered. 

As you look at how the map is drawn you see it negates, natural bounders, (rivers, canals, interstate highways) and physical bounties county/city lines. Studying the map you see actual streets carved out which cut completely along perceived racial boundaries. A traditional area of African-American voters have been put into a district all of their own and then had their vote diluted by extending that district to the west. This extended area takes in a rural area and several large white dominate communities.  ($1,000,000+ homes).  

Politician are only serving their interest. Shame on then! Our vote need to be reverent. Politician cry voter fraud is one person does not have their driver's license to vote yet ignore this most obvious examples of voter fraud; gerrymandering.  

Politician that are in gerrymandered districts (either Republican or Democratic)  must constantly vote to please only their party constituents, thus perpetuating hyper divisions. Also their loyalty is to the party that has created their district not the electorate.    

Let’s all work together to make sure our government work once again, "Of the people, for the people, by the people".  It is not about winning or loosing. It is about having a working representative form of government. Speak up.  

 The Supreme Court to hear cases on partisan gerrymandering.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

How to Wear Off-The-Shoulder

I know, this likely is a look too young for me. I have come to love this season's style and the recurring season's off-the-shoulder knit tops. I do have several in both solid and stripes. If Chico's has it in their stores, it cannot be just for teens; right? 

I did wear a black off the shoulder top to last month's Mercedes club meeting and another woman, of about my age, complimented me by saying she had several similar tops as well. Here in Florida we do get away with a summer look, year round.    

The jeans denim skirt is this season's Banana Republic pencil skirt. It hits me just above the knee in the petite that I ordered. The top on the left is from Free People, several seasons ago. I could not find it currently available at Free People although I am sure similar sleeveless designs are out there. The top on the right is from Venus and is featured below with their a-line denim skirt.

Update on the skirt: The bottom edge of the skirt was raw and just cut. I took it to my alteration lady and had a hem (turn under) put in.  That gave it a little more of a polished look.  Had I gotten a regular and not petite, it would have better and she would have a little more material to work with without making it any shorter. Length matters.    

Here is a  Wiki How on "How to Wear Off the Shoulder Tops".  Enjoy this youthful look. 


Monday, April 22, 2019

The Science of Transgender

Below is a short article from RollingStone 2014. It has likely been posted on other sites, however I like its brevity and it affirms parts of my best theory. 

I cannot find any psychosocial event in my life triggering being transgender. I theorize some type of hormonal influence, in utero (in the womb). I.e. hormonal communicating signals were disrupted at a critical point during my early development. After all, hormones are the body's regulatory substance, transported in tissue fluids such as blood, to stimulate/curtail specific cell actions.

My mother's pregnancy was at a time when DES (diethylstilbestrol) was given to women to prevent miscarriages or premature deliveries. DES is a strong man-made (synthetic) estrogen. My mother's pregnancy was in her early 30's, somewhat later in life. I have no way of ascertaining if I was her first pregnancy or if she took DES, although I believe it was possible. It is estimated that about 5 to 10 million babies are thought have been exposed to DES during pregnancy between 1938 and 1971. A staggering  number which points to DES being widely prescribed. 

What is known is that my mother was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of  breast cancer along with other cancers, six years after I was born. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the breast cancer risk factor is 30% higher than for non DES prescribed mothers.

The American Cancer Society has done extensive research on DES daughters; however not as much is know about sons. The potency of the drug is documented in that it is clear that even children born to DES-exposed daughters and sons (second and third generation) have a greater health risks than other children not exposed.

Daughters of DES exposed mothers have a greater risk of cancer of the vagina and cervix, known problems getting pregnant, premature birth, breast cancer and others.  The drug was banned in 1971. 

There is also a strong suspicion by many researchers that exposure to DES before birth might cause transgender identity disorders.

 Wikipedia reports under DES birth defects:

Dr. Scott Kerlin, a major Diethylstilbestrol research scientist and founder of the DES Sons International Research Network in 1996, has documented for the past 20 years a high prevalence of individuals with confirmed prenatal DES exposure who self-identify as male-to-female transsexual, transgender, or have intersex conditions, and many individuals who report a history of experiencing difficulties with gender dysphoria.

Here is the RollingStone article:

By: Sabrina Rubin Erdely 

What causes people to be transgender in the first place? The prevailing theories used to be psychosocial: That early traumas like dysfunctional family dynamics or childhood sexual abuse were responsible. “That is absolutely not true at all,” says Dr. Johanna Olson, medical director of the Transgender Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “But I still get people in my clinic who are trying to unravel what the traumatic incident was, that caused their kid to be trans.”

Rather, a growing body of research is pointing to biological origins. The 2008 discovery by Australian researchers of a genetic variation in transgender women—their receptor gene for the sex hormone testosterone was longer, making it less efficient at communicating signals—set off speculation that insufficient uptake of male hormones in utero contributed to a “more feminized brain.” And the brains of trans people do look different. 

Recent Spanish imaging studies have shown that the white matter of untreated trans men look much like those of biological males, and that the patterns of trans women’s white matter fell about halfway between those of biological male and female control groups. But it’s premature to draw conclusions from those studies, warns Olson, since “those parts of the brain are shaped by performance and experience,” and so may be a product of nurture, not nature. And despite the big genetic finding, it’s unclear what precise role genetics plays, since a recent survey of identical twins found that only in 20 percent of cases did both twins turn out transgender, despite having identical DNA.

“Trying to identify causes, whether they be genetic, hormonal, or something else entirely, those studies are underway,” says Olson. “The question is, what contributes to the formation of gender identity? It’s really complex.”

Friday, April 19, 2019

Marilyn Quote

Friends Friday - Copeland Davis

I get requests occasionally on how an outfit looks when wearing it in a real world situation. The photo above is from an outing at the Colony Hotel, Palm Beach two Thursday's; (April 4, 2019).  There was the usual Thursday crowd and another large group for a book signing. I believe the author was female and in attendance were some very well dressed women. 

I have had this Boston Proper gingham knit sweater for a while and this was my first time wearing it. With renewed confidence utilizing Corset 2.0, I love the way the top hugs. The knit pants are from Talbots and the shoes are Banana Republic, Madison Pumps. I attempted to stay with black and white for the accessories.  

Caitlin and I had a marvelous time and after a glass of wine at the bar we had dinner outside by the Colony pool. After dinner I noticed someone playing the piano and ventured over. It was my old friend Copeland Davis; an amazing  piano artist. He has the ability to play anything and improvises as he is going. My favorite is his abridge version of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. He said, "I have not played that in years". Then played it for me while we are carrying on a conversation and laughing. Love you, Copeland. A special end to a wonderful escape evening!

A standing ovation was the response to Copeland's TV debut on the "Tonight Show." With appearances following on "Good Morning, America," and his own PBS special. In addition to three appearances on ABC's "B.L. Stryker," There was also his subsequent induction into The International Who's Who in Music and The Las Vegas Entertainers Hall Of Fame in 2014.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Feminine Differential - The Enclave

I know many men go to unisex hair salons and the day of the "Barbershop" is passe. Still some salons are the epitome of femininity. My mother called it "going to the beauty parlor" and this was "NO-MANS-LAND".  Few men would enter without serious treat to their masculinity.

Curious History describes The Rise of Hair Salons Through the Ages: Beauty parlor of the 40's and 50's era was about hairspray, relaxers and other styling products. Beauty salons became the go-to-place for women to escape from their mundane life, get pampered and indulge in gossip.     

Oh how I remember going with my mother to the beauty parlor and being relegated to the chairs in the entrance area. I remember enduring the awful smells, the curling devices that resembled some torture mechanism and my mother getting something called a permanent. Thinking, "if it was permanent", then why did she need to go back every week. Oh silly me. 

While in Ontario last week, I entered just such a beautiful Feminine Enclave. Knowing I was going to a play and other activities over the weekend, a friend-of -a-friend recommended Jodi at Desème Salon, Spa & Boutique, Burlington, Ontario. The salon is beautiful and wow did I get a wonderful shampoo and blow dry. My hair had been cut only a few days earlier and I provided little direction other than make it full/nice. She complemented my "Michael" cut and did her magic with brush and blow dryer. She knew just what I wanted, knew her business, and in about 30 minutes almost complete. After a little spray, I was done. 

Thank you Darlene.  A great place to go and Jodi was professional and fun. 

Being the one receiving the services is so much better than watching from a chair; and wishing.  

Jodi and I at Deseme Salon


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Monsiuer d'Eon is a Woman

The Play

This past weekend I visited Toronto, Ontario and had many fun/exciting "Escapes". On Friday evening I attended a fascinating play with much relevance for us. It was at the Young Centre located in Toronto's historic Distillery District.

A little piece of trivia: Before the term transvestism was used, the process of "men who dressed as a women, adopted feminine mannerisms, clothing, etc" was called Eonism. This, in a way recognized the remarkable life of a Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée d'Éon de Beaumont; usually known as The Chevalier d'Éon. 

Also the largest and longest established transgender support group in the UK gives nod to d'Éon by going by the name The Beaumont Society.  On their site is an extensive biography of Chevalier d'Éon.

Wikipedia describe his life this way: Chevalier d'Éon, was a French diplomat, spy, Freemason and soldier who fought in the Seven Years' War. D'Éon had androgynous physical characteristics and natural abilities as a mimic and a spy. D'Éon appeared publicly as a man and pursued masculine occupations for 49 years, although during that time d'Éon successfully infiltrated the court of Empress Elizabeth of Russia by presenting as a woman. For 33 years, from 1777, d'Éon dressed as a woman, identifying as female. Doctors who examined d'Éon's body after death discovered "male organs in every respect perfectly formed", but also feminine characteristics.

The play, set in the 18 century with appropriate costumes, attacked many gender norms still relevant today. With comedy at times and seriousness, it detailed how d'Éon played both sides of French aristocracy, spied for France in Russia, then became a French Ambassador to England and there became a national curiosity. It details how Lloyd's of London, then a coffee house betting parlor, took odds on d'Éon's actual gender. We all could be so lucky. 
See also my post on Old Story - New Portrait

With fencing matches and intelligent dialog, the play cleverly left open as many questions as it answered. 

If you have not read several of the books available on Chevalier d'Éon's life, do.  He lived a life full of narrow "escapes".    

Toronto playwright Mark Brownell’s Governor General Award nominated play tells the astonishing true story of an 18th Century celebrant of the French Court who admits to being a woman at the peak of his political career. Along the way Monsieur d’Eon crosses swords with diplomats, spies, and wine connoisseurs as well as being on the speculating gossip tongues of all the crowns, celebrities and betting houses of Europe. Confronting mad kings, courtesans and the French Revolution, this fast-paced production, opulent and swashbuckling, is irreverent, touching and always entertaining.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Corset 2.0 - The Ultimate in Shape Wear

Any Crowder
Corset 2.0 from Amy Crowder's Wasp Creations shop was a big success. Our redesign (measurements that worked) was a short, underbust design that Amy and I worked on together. Over all it was comfortable and I was very pleased with the fit after a short break-in period. 

A corset is very different from any elastic/stretch shapewear garment that continues to pull even after fitting it around. A corset, once close and laced is set at a position and level of tightness. I hope that makes sense - you only tighten (lace) it to your comfort level.  There it stays. 

There are many positive aspects of wearing a corset. Wearing it every day does change the body shape over time. You are not able to eat as much, so dietary controls are in place. Plus your gait and movements are different - more feminine. Over time I became very comfortable with the look, feel and compliments. Under some clothing it is very noticeable, so I would choose items that did not exaggerate the effect. Blending in with a typical "Hour Glass" figure was my goal. How much did I wear it?  Only about 8 to 9 hours a day while out or at work and seldom on the weekend, unless I had an event.  

I have had Corset 2.0 for well over 15 years and it shows its age. On multiple occasion I have taken a needle and thread to do repairs and only clean it by hand occasionally. Underneath I always wear a corset liner. A corset liner is something like a tube top that prevent skin chafing and absorbs sweat. A must during the summer, and the liner gets washed after every wearing.  

After a period of not wearing a corset for a few years (working at home), I re-laced Corset 2.0 and will be wearing it again. I love the look. It is battered from the wear and should have been replaced many years ago, however it still does its job.

About 10 years ago I did have Amy make me a new corset but there was a problem. At that time she had gone to a front zipper in place of older steel busk as you see in the photo below. I never liked the zipper and it broke several times with Amy repairing it. My last time shipping it back was to replace the zipper with the traditional busk, however Amy passed away on May 22, 2010 before it was done.

I miss Amy. Her craftsmanship, products and the many conversations we had over the years. She was an artist and a super interesting person. Tight lacing and corset design was her passion. She lived her passion - we should all be so fortunate. 

I will look for a new corset maker someday. There are a few left from what I see on the internet. Please share your experiences if you have a person that makes your corsets.   

Considering a corset? Corsets are not for everyone. There is the discomfort factor and getting used to that is not easy. Start with a few hours and work up from that. Not all body types allow for waist reductions/restriction. Also extended wearing takes endurance and adjustment to posture and body movement. Always be aware of potential health issues as well. Tight laced corsets restrict the chest to a degree and can cause shortness of breath and elevate blood pressure.  
Now you know why  Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind was always getting the "vapors".  FYI - The movie does have a great Corset scene.  

Here is one of the benefits listed: Corsets are used to reshape and feminize the figures of trans women or gender fluid individuals: often making the ribcage more narrow, raising the apparent height of the waistline, and making the hips look fuller in contrast. These changes may help with any dysphoria they may experience by creating a figure they may consider more desirable or more easily identify with.  Read more here. 

Point to keep in mind: Do not waste you time or money on an off-the-shelf/rack  or simple "S-M-L" corset. They are for fashion and play.  They will never hold up under serious tight lacing or daily abuse.          

So some of my new photos will be with Corset 2.0.  I welcome your comments, and questions.    

Corset 2.0 - A Battered Old Friend. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Corset - The Ultimate in Shape Wear

Victorian Corset - Front Lacing 
Corset: The term itself comes from the Old French word for body, cors, and it was turned into a diminutive term by adding et to the end effectively meaning little body.  In modern fashion, few garments are as polarizing as the corset. Made to be tight, restrictive, and to reshape the body, some view it as an archaic form of clothing that is harmful and sexist. In reality, though, corsets can be empowering and as such have a devoted following of both wearers and admirers. Whatever side of the line you fall on, though, the corset is much more than just a [19th century] fad. (From the site Rebel Market) 

I received my first custom made corset over 20 years ago.  Before I had a spotted history with shapewear. I remember that both my mother and grandmother wore shaping garments that had garters that held up their nylon hosiery.  I do not remember these being complex garments and  believe these would be described as just your basic 1950's era girdle. 

Up until recently, I have been rather skinny, so during my early outings crossdressed, I typically only wore support pantyhose.  Sometimes to emulated my role models, a longline bra or the simple girdle. I remember well getting a new waist cincher and wearing it to a support group dinner. Typically, at the end of the meal, I was so uncomfortable I would promise, never again. That promise was short lived after seeing the photos of how it did shape the body into a beautiful feminine hourglass shape.  I was hooked – (pun intended).  

I had a love-hate relationship with the waist cincher. They do not last long and stretched out quickly. Not only that, but they continued to apply pressure all evening and by the end of most evenings, really uncomfortable.  There must be something better?  

Corset 2.0 - 2002
I tried several off-the-rack corsets during that period and found most to be poorly made and ill-fitting.  Most were play garment and not for real world wearing. This was well before the Spanx era.  

An online search yielded an individual in Kansas City that, based on a chart and your measurements, would make a custom fitting corset; not cheap.  Any Crowder of Wasp Creations made my first corset about 1998. It was an industrial strength garment made for what I call cotton tent material, heavily boned with meal spiral bands, a front metal busk (hooks) and adjustable lacing in the back.   

This was not a pretty garment. It was designed to do it's purpose and hide in plain sight.  I was amazed by its strength. Plus, Any's engineering and attention to design/construction details was amazing.    

I really goofed with Corset 1.0. The measurements I provided must have been my fantasy “Want-To-Be” shape.  Amy made exactly what I ordered.  I was never able to get that corset on, much less lace it.  Lesson learned - Be realistic when taking measurements.  

It took me while to contact Amy again and admit how much of a total disaster my original measurements were. Amy suggested coming in for a custom fitting as many of her customers did. However, I was not traveling as much back then, so that was not a good option.     

We had many phone conversations and she had the pattern for the original to start. About  6 week later "Corset 2.0" arrived.  

Stay tuned – Tomorrow Corset 2.0.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Friday, April 12, 2019

Mariette Pathy Allen's NY Photo Exhibition

SCC '95

Four decades of photos show American trans communities living and loving

Maieette's Pathy Allen's 1989 photo book "Transformations: Cross Dressers and Those Who Love Them" was a milestone moment for those of us in the gender community.  

I was working in San Diego and ventured into the downtown upscale bookstore, Brentano's.  Displayed in a table, front and center, was a book that took my breath away. Prior to this momentous event almost all transgender literature was relegated to the backroom or under the counter at adult book stores. The cover was pink and had a beautiful reflective photo of one of "us" on the cover.  I quickly purchase my new treasure and exited Horton Plaza not wanting to wait another minute to read and enjoy. We had arrived. See my previous post on this as well.  

Mariette described her book on the jacket cover this way:
Transformations is a book of photographs and interviews with those men who depend on feminine imagery to reach full personality expression.  The crossdresser often sees his femme creation as his better half - the kinder more charming person who has greater access to enjoy life..

These images are as tender as they are powerful, and this provocative study reveals a fascinating sub-culture that challenges the concept of male identity.      

I am honored to call Mariette a friend. We met at a Burbank Transgender Convention, Holiday En Femme, shortly after her book was published. We talked and shared some photography geek stuff and and I applauded her work that helped to move our community out of the secretive closet and be understood.   

We met again at the Southern Comfort Transgender Conference (SCC) in Atlanta. in the spring shortly after her book was published. 

There she presented an hour slide presentation of her transgender work including many photos that had not made the book.  

There she described that her first instruction to our group was while she was attending Mardi Gras in 1978.  " I went to my hotel dining room for breakfast and was confronted by a room full of figures in long sequined dresses, butterfly eyelashes and cascading hairpieces. After breakfast, as if on queu, the group lined up around the hotel pool, striking poses.  Each of then was focused in a different direction, except for one person wearing a green lame dress who looked back at me calmly and directly. It was as if I was seeing into someone's soul, unburdened by masculinity or femininity...  Her full humanity was was present." Mariette's slide presentation had the photo she took that morning.  

Over the years, Mariette and I would spend time takling at many of the conventions she would attend. I would help her setup and facilitates some presentations;  and I am so honored to know her. 

Some of my most prized photos from my early venturing out years were taken by Mariette at SCC.    

Mariette has an exhibition of her work at the Museum of Sex  NY, running until September 8, 2019.  It's title, "RITES OF PASSAGE, 1978-2006".  I hope to visit before it closes. 

Mariette Pathy Allen’s Rites of Passage - photo From Exhibition