Allison M.

A crossdresser's thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and (oh yeah) dressing up


1 Comment

Coming out… or not

Yesterday (October 11) was National Coming Out Day.  Celebrated every year since 1988, this is a day designed to commemorate the most basic form of LGBT+ activism — coming out to friends, family, or whomever as someone other than a sexually straight, cis-gender person.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

On the docket

On the first Monday of every October, per law and tradition, the United States Supreme Court reconvenes after its summer recess and begins a new session of important cases.  In every annual session, the Supremes listen to important arguments and make even more important decisions on laws and regulations that affect all of our lives.  This coming Monday (October 7) will be no different.  The Supremes will gather again, gavel the session to order, and entertain arguments in cases they agreed to hear.

The next day (October 8), the Supremes will hear not one but three cases involving LGBT+ rights, and whether an employer can fire or discriminate someone because of their sexual or gender identity.  Germane to this post is one of those cases that, as The Guardian recently reported, will be “the first Supreme Court case involving the civil rights of transgender people,” as well as “the most important LGBTQ rights case” the high court has taken up since it ruled in favor of marriage equality in 2015.

The plaintiff is Aimee Stevens, who The Guardian describes as “modest, quietly spoken but full of steely resolve.”  Until 2013, Stevens worked as a funeral home director in Michigan.  By then, she had already begun transitioning to and identifying as female.  When she came out as trans to her devoutly religious boss, she lost her job.

Rather than take 21 days of severance from the funeral home, and with it sign away any right to take legal action, Stevens took the funeral home to court.  A series of lower court decisions ended with a victory for Stevens.

However, the funeral home boss, with backing of conservative groups as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, has appealed the case to the Supreme Court.  As indicated in court documents, the boss fired Stevens because she “no longer wanted to represent himself as a man” and “wanted to dress as a woman,” leading to a “violation” of funeral home dress codes.  A classic case of mis-gendering right there, not only on the part of Stevens’ ex-employer, but also the DOJ, who chose not to identify her by any gender pronouns in an August court filing.

The law involved here is Title VII of of the Civil Rights Act, which prevents people from being discriminated against on the basis of sex.  Stevens’ lawyers argue that Title VII should also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual/gender identity.  The boss’ backers argue that “redefining sex discrimination will cause problems in employment law,” and that “recognizing the rights of Stevens and other trans women will make cis-gender women unsafe.”  That’s a bunch of hooey, of course:  Lots of studies have proven that cis people are not endangered by trans-inclusive rules and policies.

For sure, the thought that a now conservative-leaning supreme court would rule in favor of anti-trans discrimination should make you worry.  But as The Guardian notes in its article (again, here’s the link), cis-gender people could be adversely affected if the high court rules against Stevens.  In 1989, the high court ruled against Price Waterhouse after it denied a partnership position to a women the company deemed “too aggressive” and “manly.”  In other words, a ruling against Stevens would give employers carte blanche to discriminate against employees simply because said employees may not adhere to a prescribed stereotypical gender definition.  That includes not just the plumbing downstairs, but also outward appearance and comportment.

So no matter who you are or how you identify, please pay close attention to the arguments on Tuesday in Aimee Stevens case at the Supreme Court.  Lives and livelihoods will be on the line.  So will respect and decency toward the entire LGBT+ community.

(Oh, and after you’ve read that Guardian article, please take time to listen to Aimee Stevens’ own words in this op-ed for Out magazine.)


Leave a comment

Et tu, 21?

“We need a little less Forever 21 and a little more Suddenly 42.”
Maura Ellis to her sister Kate while the two are shopping for a party outfit in a scene from the motion picture Sisters

As I’ve mentioned more than once on here, I’m one who loves to actually shop for clothes in person.  That is, I actually like getting out of the house, going to the mall, perusing through the racks, and tell the clerk to [da-da-da duh da-daaah] “CHARGE IT!” when I find something that will have the right look and fit on me.

And for the longest time (well, at least the last decade), one of my favorite go-to stores has been here:

forever_21

Image source here

That is the West Towne Mall location of Forever 21.  Founded as Fashion 21 in 1984, the chain has become in recent years one of the biggest names in the world of “fast fashion.”  For those unfamiliar with that term, it applies to articles of clothing that are eye catching, perhaps resembling outfits seen only on the Paris catwalks, that a retailer will not only be priced reasonably but also be available for a limited time.  In other words, create the product and generate the demand. Continue reading


Leave a comment

What a… flirt?

There’s a little something I didn’t include in my summary of the OutReach Magic Festival, which occurred two weekends ago, but wanted to talk up in a separate post.  Don’t be alarmed, for it was a relatively minor thing.  Matter of fact, it’s something that felt peculiar to me initially, yet I find myself thinking about it quite a lot.

Continue reading


1 Comment

The 2019 OutReach Magic Festival

Last weekend was the third weekend of August, one in which Madison’s LGBT+ community celebrates and puts on a show.  Normally, that would have included a parade up State Street and a rally around the Capitol Square.  This year, however, thanks to city ordinances, police department demands, and organizational logistics, event organizers went back to the future, as it were…

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Random personal thoughts (8/18/2018 edition)

I have just enough time this Sunday morning to let you in on a couple of personal matters.  First off, I’ve put in a feeler on a potential new employment opportunity.  It’s through a different staffing agency than the one where I found my current assignment.  It’s also a temp-to-hire role.  But it also appears to be an indefinite, long-term role.  And it’s also in an industry where I spent a significant portion of my early professional life, meaning I need to move some of the industry’s terminology from the back to the front of my memory if I get this role.

But at the very least, if nothing pans out there or anyplace else, I do have my current assignment to fall back on.  As much as I’m not happy there and have struggled sometimes, the managers I work under seem to be pleased with my work.  Well, at least pleased enough to indicate they’d like to keep me on past September 1 and work some special projects.  While that’s nice, and I’m grateful, I’m not sure if it will be a full-time role.  And let’s just say that it’s not easy having just part-time employment while living in a city as expensive as Madison.

This afternoon, at least, I get to put all those work worries aside and get dressed up.  And for good reason, as today is Madison’s LGBT+ celebration, OutReach Magic Festival.  As I noted back in the spring, city regulations, logistics, and lingering resentment from last year prompted event organizers to eschew from having a parade downtown up State Street, and instead have a picnic/festival event at Warner Park on the northeast side of town.  The setup is meant to help bring the various groups within the pride acronym together, something our community needs right now and will hopefully benefit from.  The bad news, however, is that somebody has been praying for rain.  As I write this, there’s a loud storm moving through town, and a chance of rain exists late during the event.  Ugh!

Hopefully, everyone will stay dry at Magic Festival.  Myself especially, as I will be lugging around a fancy camera while dodging raindrops.  See, yours truly will be volunteering as Allison at the event.  Little Ol’ Do-Gooder Me wanted to help out in any way.  Despite my signing up relatively late (I did so after a volunteer orientation), spots were still available, and I added my femme name to the list as an event photographer.  I’m planning to arrive early enough to not only drink in the event and get a lay of the land, but also to get the ground rules on photographing the event, one of which I’ve learned about already — get consent before taking someone’s picture.  It will be a great thrill to not only lend a hand to what will hopefully be a great event, but to also help document it for posterity.


Random rants about this past week

Before I go any further, much of this post will be devoted to the dark past 7 days, and as a whole past 2½ years, that our country has gone through.  I perfectly understand if you want to hit your browser’s back button and go somewhere more cheerful.  Heck, right after I finish writing this I may very well join you.

Continue reading


2 Comments

Allison’s forty-tenth birthday

The way the calendar works, one’s birthday doesn’t always fall on the same day of the week every year.  So it is with my birthday, which the past few years fell on a work day.  Luckily, this year my 50th birthday fell on a Saturday.  And when my family texted me yesterday to bid me their good wishes, they wondered what I would be doing during the day.  A natural question, what with my 50th falling on a weekend.  I told them I wouldn’t be doing anything big, just relaxing at home.

Oh, boy, was I lying like a dog.

Past-the-knee knit dress & birthday ribbon

That’s yours truly posing for the camera early Saturday evening at one of the more popular restaurants in the Madison area, The Great Dane.  The dress is literally brand new, as well as a birthday present to myself.  Earlier in the day, I made a quick bee line for errands and stopped off at Forever 21 in West Towne Mall to treat myself to not only a new stylish addition to my wardrobe, but also something that will fit me comfortably and not show a lot of leg (I didn’t have enough time for me to shave them, and I’ll explain why in a moment).

Continue reading


4 Comments

A poem: “Birthday Wishes”

As you may have surmised from the above banner, today (August 3) is indeed my birthday.  It’s my 50th birthday, as a matter of fact.  Yeah, that’s a big number for anyone in their life.  But it’s also a point in my life where I’m very modest about dealing with it.  Matter of fact, I’ve been at my current work assignment for a full year now (my 52nd week ended yesterday), and I’ve never revealed to anyone there that today is my birthday.  (Truth be told, though, nobody in that office has appeared to clue anyone in on the day of their births.  I guess birthdays aren’t a big deal there.)

But still, the big 5-0 is something to celebrate, as I did in my own way last night.

Yes, that’s yours truly taking a selfie at Mother Fools on Friday night, where I performed poetry en femme once again.  Yes, I alluded to my birthday while on the stage, receiving a polite round of applause from the small audience and a couple of well wishes afterwards.

One of the poems I performed last night is shown below.  To keep my poetry skills sharp, I wanted to write some whimsical prose for my birthday.  But while I thought of a couple funny lines for the middle stanza, my mind kept coming up with blanks for the rest.  So I reversed course and took the introspective route.

I must caution that the below words are not the most perfect, especially since they were typed up in a bit of a rush (I really wanted to present it that night).  But these words are a reflection of the eager birthday celebrator I once was, the more modest birthday girl I am today… and the birthday wishes I still harbor now that I’m entering my second half-century, including one that I kind of wish wasn’t impossible (move over, Erica Strange).

Birthday Wishes

When I was in a younger soul’s shoes
My birthday wishes were simple:
A big party
With bigger presents
Or at least a bigger cake
And a round of “Happy Birthday to You”
Oh, was I a different person then

Now that I’m in an older soul’s shoes
My birthday wishes are more simple:
A happy, healthy life
With a steady job
A loving family
And good friends
Who might sing a round of “Happy Birthday to You”
(That is, if they remember my birthday)
Yeah, I’m a more mature person now

But as I enter a 50-year-old soul’s shoes
I do have one birthday wish that’s fantastical:
A time machine
Where I could vividly relieve
My greatest days
The saddest moments
And biggest regrets
And perhaps turn them into something positive
And by the time I next would hear “Happy Birthday to You”
Oh, what a different person I could be now

But, yeah, I know… that’s impossible
At least until someone knows how to alter space and time

So, as I slip on a 50-year-old soul’s shoes
I’ll keep my birthday wishes realistic
The friends and family
The job (or maybe a million dollars instead)
But also a sharp memory
That remembers the years behind me
And a healthy life
That lets me enjoy the years ahead


Leave a comment

One month after that

While tumbling through the internet rabbit hole to write up my last post, I came across this photograph:

1554301672242

The photo, rainbow border and all, was posted on the Student Life section of New York University’s website.  The photo was taken by the late Fred McDarrah, who was a writer and also a longtime photographer for The Village Voice.  Among his many assignments was the photographing of the Stonewall Riots, their immediate aftermath, and many LGBT-related marches and celebrations after that.

The date of this particular photo is significant:  Sunday, July 27, 1969.  Yes, 50 years ago yesterday.  Many people may think that all there was of the Stonewall uprising was what happened in June of 1969, followed by a quiet period and the first organized pride march one year later in 1970.  Even worse, many think that the LGBT+ rights movement was only the product of later (i.e. much more recent) generations.

But that line of thinking is incorrect, really.  There was a more quieter LGBT movement before Stonewall.  It’s just that those hot nights in late June 50 years ago were the propellant that took the movement further.  And sure enough, Stonewall led to other protests and rallies in New York immediately afterward, including one exactly one month after the riots, in which a “Gay Power” march culminated in a rally at Washington Square Park.

Admittedly, I don’t know every single detail about the LGBT+ movement.  I’m sure a great many not just outside but also within our community will say the same thing.  But it’s a great feeling to learn about a small moment or a minor contributor that would help ensure the freedoms we enjoy and inspire the open lives we live today.

Here’s hoping you experience that same “gee whiz” feeling when you peruse though our community’s vast and proud history.