Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Roberta Cowell - Trans Trailblazer, Pilot and Auto Racer

Roberta Cowell in Paris in 1954

Cowell is the first woman known to undergo sex reassignment surgery in Britain. But after a splash in the 1950s, she withdrew from public life and died in obscurity.

By Alan Cowell
June 5, 2020

Overlooked is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times. This month we’re adding the stories of important L.G.B.T. figures.

At the height of Roberta Cowell’s celebrity status, in 1954, her face adorned the cover of Britain’s popular Picture Post magazine. When her story appeared in a newspaper, “I received 400 proposals. Some of them of marriage,” she said in an interview for The Sunday Times of London in 1972. “I could have had titles, money, the lot.”

She achieved this fame when she became the first person in her country known to have her gender reassigned from male to female. Her transition — and all of the yearnings and hopes that came with it — involved hormone treatments and surgeries despite what some regarded in strait-laced 1950s Britain as flouting contemporary laws.

“Since May 18th, 1951, I have been Roberta Cowell, female,” she pronounced in her autobiography. “I have become woman physically, psychologically, glandularly and legally.”

Yet by the time Cowell died in 2011 at 93, her voyage across the lines of gender and social norms had faded into obscurity.

Roberta Cowell March 1954
Americans were perhaps more familiar with Christine Jorgensen, a former U.S. Army clerk who transitioned in Denmark just months after Cowell. When Jorgensen died of cancer in 1989 at 62, the event was recorded in an obituary in The New York Times.

Cowell’s death, by contrast, went all but unremarked upon, even in Britain. Her body was found on Oct. 11, 2011, in her small apartment in southwest London by the building superintendent.  A handful of friends attended her funeral, but, apparently at her request, there was no fanfare for the woman who had helped pioneer gender reassignment at a time when it was virtually taboo.

Only in 2013 — two years after her death — was her passing reported, by the British newspaper The Independent on Sunday.

“So complete was her withdrawal from public life that even her own children did not know she had died,” the article said.

The disclosure of her death inspired a brief resurgence of media interest in her story, focusing partly on what was broadly depicted as the severing of all ties with her two daughters and on the idiosyncratic circumstances of her transition.

After World War II, she developed an interest in the idea of a combination of hormone therapy and surgery to more closely align her body with her gender identity. This had been reinforced by a book called “Self: A Study in Ethics and Endocrinology” (1946) by Michael Dillon, a medical student whom she sought out in 1950.

Cowell wrote in her autobiography “Roberta Cowell’s Story,” that during their meeting, over lunch, Dillon revealed that he had himself changed his gender identity through doses of testosterone and gender-affirming surgery.

Together they agreed that he would help her transition by performing a procedure that was prohibited under so-called “mayhem” laws, forbidding the intentional “disfiguring” of men who would otherwise qualify to serve in the military. If discovered, Dillon would almost certainly have been prevented from completing his studies to become a physician. The operation, thus, was conducted in great secrecy, and its success enabled Cowell to seek medical affidavits to have her birth gender formally re-registered as female.

Soon afterward, Cowell became a patient of Harold Gillies, a pioneer of plastic surgery who had performed gender-affirming surgery on Dillon, according to the book “The First Man-Made Man: The Story of Two Sex Changes, One Love Affair, and a Twentieth-Century Medical Revolution” (2006).

“If it gives real happiness,” Gillies wrote of his procedures, “that is the most that any surgeon or medicine can give.”


Read the complete article here:  Overlooked No More: Roberta Cowell, Trans Trailblazer, Pilot and Auto Racer

Cowell participating in the women’s race car competition
Sussex, England, age 39.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Fashion Play - Floral Skirt

This is a super fun skirt to play with. First off, I love pencil skirts. It was in the last spring Talbots' collection and does go with much.  In their online catalog it was called:  "Rose Pencil Skirt - Twilight  Blue/Black/White". I did not pair it with anything black however it would be at home there as well as with the light blues, dark blue, and whites shown.  When shopping anytime you can find a versatile piece like this, it is an investment item. Perfect for the spring and summer season.

Even though it it is still full price at the time, you do not have to look to hard to find a Talbots' promotion  Most week they have a sale and many times an e-mail offer every few days. Well worth watching. Talbots' "Misses" sizes to 18, "Plus" to size 24, "Petite" to 16 and "Plus Petite" to 22. Petite size 10 or 12 fits me perfect.  

Friday, June 26, 2020

Disclosure - Laverne Cox Documentary (Netflix)

From executive producer Laverne Cox and director Sam Feder comes Disclosure, a documentary that chronicles over 100 years of trans representation on screen, from silent film to Dog Day Afternoon, The 40-Year-Old Virgin to Pose.

In this documentary, leading trans creatives and thinkers share heartfelt perspectives and analysis about Hollywood's impact on the trans community.

Review from the site Decider:

Netflix’s release of Disclosure couldn’t have been more timely. The documentary — subtitled Trans Lives on Screen — is a Pride Month offering that details the history of transgender representation in film and TV, and arrives just as news headlines report a variety of related developments: The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that workplace discrimination against LGBTQ employees is illegal. The Trump administration’s axing of healthcare protections against trans patients. The murder of two black trans women, part of an ongoing scourge of violence against trans people. The emergence of the Black Trans Lives Matter movement. And an ill-informed anti-trans screed by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling stirred righteously heated retorts. Disclosure‘s variety of trans voices seems to be exactly what the current conversation needs. 

I have not seen it yet, however,  I do hope to over the weekend.  
Have you seen it? Please comment. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Feminine Differential - Ballet Flats Revisit


Tory Burch ballet flats are wonderfully comfortable. An all day shoe that is feminine, stylish and work for most any occasion. Tory Burch shoes and accessories are absurdly priced and attempt to position themselves into the ultra-designer category, e.g., Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Maybe - Maybe not. What shocks me is seeing young teens in packs wearing $248 Tory flip-flop sandals. How the parents afford these I do not know.  Sorry - enough for the rant.

The above Tory MINNIE CAP-TOE BALLET FLAT had been on sale for about a month.  I had watched and even at the first markdown, I could not justify the purchase. Last week there was an additional 25% off (Code "EXTRA"); although still over priced, they were now justifiable. Note: My experience in purchasing Tory shoes - they run about one-half size small. 

The UK Blog Gabor Shoes posted "How to Wear Ballet Flats: Tips & Styling" - Some great suggestions for this feminine and stylist must have.  

Once the weather starts to warm up and the winter layers gradually start to drop off it’s a clear sign that spring is around the corner. With spring comes lighter footwear and the return of everybody’s favorite flat shoe: the ballet pump.

Delicate, sophisticated and elegant, ballet pumps are the perfect investment for the milder months. But it’s common for those who haven’t yet discovered the joy of these highly versatile flats for there to be a degree of uncertainty on how best to style them. In this post we’ll talk you through how to wear ballet flats to get the most out of the style, including what to wear with ballet flats, what not to wear with ballet flats and how to style them for different occasions.

Ballet Flats Styling Tips

There are, thankfully, not too many ways you can go wrong with this most versatile of shoe styles. Here are our top tips on what to wear with ballet flats and how to wear ballet flats to make them look their best:

  •     Avoid Tights & Socks – Wearing tights, stockings or socks with ballet pumps is a risky business as it creates the possibility for those unsightly pleats and wrinkles around the ankles. If you’re going to brave it, keep a close eye on this area throughout the day, but we think barefoot is always best.
  •     Be Careful With Strap Styles – Ballet pumps with thick ankle straps can visually take a lot of length off your legs. If you have fairly short legs, we would recommend avoiding ballet pumps with straps or lace-up around the ankle and lower leg to keep the legs looking as long as possible.
  •     Go Nude – OK, so not literally of course. Nude-coloured ballet flats create a fantastic leg-lengthening effect when worn with bare legs, so invest in a pair of simple nude flats to take advantage of this simple visual illusion.
  •     Show Some Skin – Ballet flats look most flattering when the lower leg or ankles are showing. Try to keep dresses and skirts above the knee or wear with cropped trousers that show your ankles for a super on-trend look. If you do want to pair with below-the-knee dresses and skirts, we recommend you go for loose, flowing skirt styles to set the look off best.
  •     Accessorize it Big – The simplicity of your ballet flats could always benefit from a touch of balancing-out. To achieve this, complete your outfit with several statement accessories such as chunky necklaces, a large clutch or a bold belt.

 Inspired? Now you know the secrets of how to wear ballet flats, it’s time to do some shopping! Explore our latest collection of ballet pumps here at Gabor (UK pricing) and pick the perfect style for your new outfit creations.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

I Love A Success Story - Rebekah Bruesehoff (13 Years Old)

This 13-Year-Old Girl Is Out To ‘Change The World’

BY: Dawn Ennis
Contributor Diversity & Inclusion

Rebekah Bruesehoff
Think back to when you were in school. Ten, 11 years old, and you’re called to speak before the class, about who you are.

Rebekah Bruesehoff did that before a crowd of 200 strangers when she was 10. The following year, she traveled to Houston and did it again, in front of 31-thousand people, at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Youth Gathering. Her father is a Lutheran minister.

“I’ve learned that by being who God has called me to be, and by telling my story, hearts and minds are changed,” declared the 11-year-old girl in hot pink pigtails. “I can change the world!”

And what she wants to change about the world most of all is how it sees girls like her. Clearly, Rebekah is not just any ordinary girl, and yet that is exactly the message she conveys at every opportunity.

“Transgender kids are just like other kids,” she told the gathering. Rebekah is transgender.

Now 13, Rebekah already has quite the resume. She’s a straight A student, plays clarinet, loves to dance ballet and is also on the field hockey team. Given the lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, she’s spending every day at home with her parents and two younger brothers in Sussex County, N.J. “It’s pretty bizarre,” she said, “not getting to go anywhere.”

But the lockdown has not diminished her activism. In April she led a daily online storytime session on Instagram and Facebook Live, reading LGBTQ+ books to younger school children, alongside her mom, writer and speaker Jamie Bruesehoff.

Late last year, Marvel Comics chose her as the inspiration for a new transgender superhero, Mighty Rebekah, as part of its Marvel’s Hero Project. The idea is to highlight everyday kids who are doing something extraordinary. Not only did the artists create a comic book that focused on her bravery as an activist, Rebekah and her family were featured in a Disney+ documentary.

And just this week, another crowning achievement: Rebekah was named a GenderCool Champion, in an announcement on the group’s Facebook page and on Twitter.


Thanks Caitlin for sharing this article.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

10 Ways To Part Your Hair

I will wager that many of you may not have change their hair part since you gave up the "Flat Top".  Until the point of me growing my hair that was my plight.  Now that many of you are hair cut deprived, why no experiment/play with a new look. This works for your wigs too.

The Zoe Report described it this way:

 If you’ve been imagining a big, confidence-boosting change for your hair, but aren’t quite ready for the pixie, never fear. The quickest (and easiest) way to change up your look for spring is actually also the go-to trick  -  Change your part.

“Your part plays a big role in the vibe of your overall look,” says Christine Symonds, a Los Angeles-based celebrity stylist who works with high-wattage stars such as Chelsea Handler and Kaley Cuoco. “Part changes are a quick fix to make you look and feel different,” agrees Gracie Odoms, a Los Angeles-based hairstylist at the Andy Lecompte Salon.
Watch the video above and have fun.  

Monday, June 22, 2020

Unapologetically Transgender

There are just a few that do not know I am transgender. The family discusses the BLOG among themselves and occasionally mention a post. They always preference it by whispering “You know we read it….”  My physical appearance with long white hair, if not announcing, surely provides questions and whispers. Complete strangers smile like we are sharing a secret that only the two of us are privy. I smile back.  

As another blogger stated: "I dare to do something that many do not. I live my life the way I like and I am happy! I am not ashamed to be transgender. Frankly, I am incredibly proud that I can do something so special that other men can not nor dare to do. I do not hide anymore".  My sentiments exactly.

I am also happy that I can write this blog. I am happy that that there are readers. I hope in some small way I may have helped one person to live an unashamed full life; a well engineered escape.   

Like most of us, getting to this point has not been easy.  

Early in my life due to family sickness/death/divorces I learned to bury my emotion/feeling. Things I did not understand were compartmentalize. How could I, as a boy, like a feminine aspect of life?  did I want to be a girl? You bet. I quickly found that life was infused with imponderables, e.g., why people get sick and die and religion says one thing and people do the opposite? 

I made an enlightened discovery about age 14 that I was not alone in my transgender feelings. This helped, although still not understanding the why. I thought that maybe becoming a girl would be a solution and prayed intensely for that to happen. Yes, "a miracle" and I would wake up changed. Doesn’t god answer prayers? That is what I was taught in Sunday School. After a few years of asking god to help with my mother's cancer and no response, I gave up on the prayer/girl thing as well. 
Christine Jorgensen 1954

There were whispers back in the fifties about a soldier named Christine Jorgensen actually changing her "sex".  Nothing scared me more than when I learned becoming a girl was possible through surgery; no miracle needed. I guess I was not as committed to that idea as I thought. 

I was called "sissy" and although I did not like being called that, I knew deep inside it was true. Now at adolescent crossroads, I decided to become the best boy I could. If I was not going to just wake up one morning as a girl, then boyhood was for me. Put all this silly girl stuff behind me. 

Luckily, I got a growth spurt early in puberty, (like girls). Unfortunately, it stopped as quickly as it started. However, for a while I was the largest boy in my sixth grade and this gave me a shot of boy confidence. 

Reveling in this shot of confidence, I played rough and tumble boy stuff with the best. I was good at football (all-county and team co-captain) until good sense dictated a smarter course. Everyone else got bigger - I did not. By eleventh grade, I was both skinny and short compared to my peers. I compensated by being studious, a good leader and gregarious. To my surprise, people liked me in spite of my well-hidden secret. I guess I had the "girl" thing under control.  
Also, I had to compartmentalize being dyslexic. Kids teased me and called me “retard” because I could not read well out loud. Plus, my spelling was awful (still is). Oh, how I hated getting a paper back from my teachers with all the red marks. It looked like someone had bled out on my homework.

Fortunately, deep inside, I  knew I was OK. I chose to listen to my internal self.  

As an adult, I found that my internal self to be my best guide. I have made the effort to fix what I could; deal with the other stuff and be the best father, provider, husband and even church leader that I could. Overall I think I did OK. 

Personal note: I have stepped away from religion because of the gross hypocrisy that abounds therein. I am no longer religious.  

Compartmentalized obstacles, cannot stay ignored and hidden forever. Like items in a closets, obstacles/realities must be dealt with and the objects sorted - keep/tossed. An item/attitude although perfect at one time, may no longer fit; be out of date/style. Yes, a new attitude will fit me better.   

I do not see my being transgender going away. The "until death, do us part" thing. This feminine aspect is as much a part of myself as blue eyes, right-handed and being dyslexic. I am transgender and part of the larger LGBTQ community. I am proud and see no need to apologize.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day '20


We now return the regularly scheduled program
Rhonda's Political Week In Review 6/21/2020


  1. A pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess. A feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not.
  2. Behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel.
  3. A pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Catch of The Day - I Love Being A Girl

I am not of the time period where the whole outfit needs to match. However, there are times when a combination just jumps out and begs for a second look. The "I Love Being A Girl" goes back to my very first post on this blog nearly five years ago.  Where did the time go? What a ride.

Today's fashion layout is Lauren Ralph Lauren Floral Jersey Surplice Dress from Macy's, on sale this weekend (when does Macy's not have a sale). It is more than one-half off at $53.19. I love the fit of the Lauren Jersey knits. The color is listed as "Cream/Pink Floral".

The Pink Floral shoes are Coach and I have been watching these all season. The Coach site sold out long ago, but I found them, new, on e-Bay and in my size. The "Coach Womens Waverly Leather Pointed Toe Classic Pumps" do fit me perfectly. 

The Tory Burch Cap Toe Pumps were an addition of about 6 months ago and although listed as nude are very nearly pink. 

I will keep you posted on how this "maybe too put together" outfit works out.  Stay tuned for photos.  

Why do we do this: "Because We Love Being A Girl"!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Your Voice

I wrote this over a year ago.
 Never has it seemed so appropriate as today.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

I Love A Success Story - Thank you Aimee

Aimee Stephens, before her death, shared the following when discussing a possible ruling in her favor by the SCOTUS: 

“Firing me because I’m transgender was discrimination, plain and simple, and I am glad the Court recognized that what happened to me is wrong and illegal. I am thankful that the Court said my transgender siblings and I have a place in our laws—it made me feel safer and more included in society.”  

James Esseks, Director of the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project had the following response: "We celebrate this victory as the Supreme Court ruled employers cannot discriminate against LGBTQ people. This ruling moves our country forward and affirms legal protections in the workplace, housing, and health care – but, as Aimee Stephens always advocated for, we still have work to do... Congress must affirm today’s decision and update our laws to ensure comprehensive and explicit protections for LGBTQ people and all people who face discrimination.” 


I want to thank Aimee for her bravery and standing up for us all. Let's all now commit to honor our hero, by voting this coming fall to honor Aimee's memory by making sure that congress, and the next president know that discrimination is wrong and now illegal. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

A Victory!

The News of The Day

Finally we have been granted legal protections under the he law.  After so many years of mean spirited "Executive Orders", Politico describes our victory this way:

 LGBT rights advocates triumphed at the Supreme Court Monday, winning a sweeping decision from the justices that protects gay, lesbian and transgender employees from being disciplined, fired or turned down for a job based on their sexual orientation.

Read the whole article entitled "With LGBT ruling, Supreme Court hands liberals a surprise victory".

Monday, June 15, 2020

I Love A Success Story - Her Father's Love

A Daughter's Journey

Jamie Vallas and her Dad.
BY : Michael Golden 

You’re transitioning from one body to another. From one gender to another. But it’s more than that. I’ve always been the same up in my head. Deep inside I’ve always been the same person. But my body - it was just different. And I wanted to make corrections. I wanted to change myself so I felt more comfortable. And I felt more comfortable in a woman’s body. And that’s who I truly was. I wanted to bring out my inside and reveal it on the outside.” - Jamie Vallas

Earlier this year, 21 year-old Jamie Vallas underwent sexual reassignment surgery. Happy and healthy, Jamie is now speaking out about her transgender journey - and how her family has made all the difference. Jamie, and her father Dean, were recently interviewed on The Golden Mean podcast. Edited excerpts from our conversation: 

Jamie: I used to listen to a lot of female singing artists. Like Celine Dion, or Hannah Montana. All this stuff that most little boys wouldn’t listen to. And I would lip sync the words and pretend like I was singing them. I used to dress up all the time. I used to borrow my sister’s ballet clothes, and I used to dance around to that music with those dresses on. I used to put towels and shirts over my head and pretend I had long hair. Or put t-shirts on to pretend they were dresses. I went all out! 

And I also played with my sister’s Barbie dolls. I used to be made fun of around my neighborhood. They used to call me Barbie boy. It was really degrading at the time because I didn’t think what I was doing was wrong. I mean, this is me and I was expressing myself. And I thought I was not doing anything wrong, but I guess I was an oddity to other people.

I was so feminine. I was overly feminine and I didn’t like my body. And I thought, gay men are comfortable in their own bodies. I wasn’t. And I found the term transgender, and it just changed my point of view and my way of thinking. And I was like, that’s me. 


Don’t let other people bring you down. You are who you are. You’re your own person. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t take what someone says and blame yourself and think, “oh, this is who I am because this person said that.” No. You don’t need to be yourself through other people. You don’t need other people’s validation to be yourself and to be happy and to be you. You should always do your best to be yourself. Regardless of what other people try to say about you. Don’t be afraid to be who you are just because other people don’t like you. That’s their issue, not yours. You did nothing wrong. It’s okay to be happy.


With Father's Day coming, do yo have any touching father's Day stories you can share?  

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Rhonda's Political Week In Review 6/14/2020

Thanks again Velma for sending this one along... 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Boy In dress

A drawing that can inspire many dreams.  

Thursday, June 11, 2020


This is the Palm Beach HRC announcement on their web site from a month ago. I have already worked on an initiative with HRC and been interviewed by the local newspaper. I am their first transgender board member. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Feminine Differential - Matching Shoes to Pants

BY Imogen

Just like with skirts, different shoe styles suit different trouser styles.  When you think about how to choose a shoe and heel style to work with your pants, you will want to take into consideration a few aspects.

1.  Trouser Shape and Shoe Selection
From the widest palazzo pant to your skinny leg pant, there is an element of balance you will be wanting to achieve.

2.  Heel Shape and Shoe Selection
Heel shapes should relate to the width of the pant hem. The narrower the pant hem, the slimmer the heel.

3.  Body Shape and Shoe Selection
Choosing the right pants for your body shape helps to make them more flattering (get my tips here).

 4.  Leg Length and Shoe Selection
Shorter legs look better in either a longer pant, slimmer cut pant (such as straight leg) or a higher heel.  Longer legs are those that can carry off the cropped pant well and can also carry the wide leg of the palazzo pant most easily.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Eight Easy Pieces - Escape In Style

Just a mix of items already in my closet.  The top could be a t-shirt, silk blouse or fitted piece like the one above.  The skirt could be denim, polished cotton or leather.  A lot of descriptions talk about an outfit going from day-to-evening; this could be just such an outfit. 

Monday, June 8, 2020

I Love A Success Story - Katie Rain Hill + One

Katie Rain Hill
Katie Rain Hill is a student at the University of Tulsa majoring in anthropology and sociology. She wrote this memoir while studying for exams, writing term papers, working part-time as a pharmaceutical technician, and advocating for LGBTQA rights. Rethinking Normal is her first book.

About the Book: 

Katie Rain Hill realized very young that a serious mistake had been made; she was a girl who had been born in the body of a boy. Suffocating under her peers’ bullying and the mounting pressure to be “normal,” Katie tried to take her life at the age of eight years old. After several other failed attempts, she finally understood that “Katie”—the girl trapped within her—was determined to live.

In this first-person account, Katie reflects on her pain-filled childhood and the events leading up to the life-changing decision to undergo gender reassignment as a teenager. She reveals the unique challenges she faced while unlearning how to be a boy and shares what it was like to navigate the dating world—and experience heartbreak for the first time—in a body that matched her gender identity.

Told in an unwavering honest voice, Rethinking Normal is a coming-of-age story about transcending physical appearances and redefining the parameters of “normalcy” to embody one’s true self.

Meanwhile, Katie believes that her estrogen levels are naturally high; she was teased in high school for her AA-cup breasts when she still went by Luke. Just four days after her graduation in May, an anonymous donor was so touched by her story that they gifted her $40,000 in order to pay for her gender reassignment surgery.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Rhonda's Political Week In Review 6/7/2020

In this episode of PUNCHLINES, Matt Wuerker breaks down the battle between President Donald Trump and the Black Lives Matter Protesters.

And Finally - Thanks to Velma for this one:

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Tim Cook - Our Differences

The world is intertwined today, much more than it was when I was coming out of school. Because of that, you really need to have a deep understanding of cultures around the world. I have learned to not just appreciate this but celebrate it. The thing that makes the world interesting is our differences, not our similarities. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple