Allison M.

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


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Why Allison couldn’t march this weekend but still found herself riled up

Two years ago this weekend, the day after You Know Who became you know what, millions of people marched in cities across the country.  It was the starting point, or at least the most prominent moment, of what is called the Women’s March movement to advocate women’s rights, workers’ rights, immigration reform, and several other important issues, not to mention respect of others and anger toward You Know Who and his right-of-center cronies.  Here in Madison on that day, an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 participants marched up State Street and assembled at the Capitol Square.

Yesterday (January 19), not only in Washington but across the country, the anniversary of that march was commemorated by another round of marches and rallies.  Yes, a march and rally was held here in Madison as well.  No, unfortunately, it wasn’t as big as the one that occurred two years ago; the estimated number attending at the State Capitol was reported at 700.  Perhaps it the snow and cold that kept some people away (Madison had received 4.5 inches of snow in the overnight hours), but 700 is still a pretty decent number all things considered.

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Allison still plays Scrooge (well, mostly) when it comes to Christmas carols

Three years ago, I went on a tear over something everyone’s ears will put up with at least once or twice, if not a heck of a lot more than that, this time every year:  The Christmas carol.  Shop at any mall or turn on any radio and it’s for sure you’ll wind up listening to some old chestnut of a carol.  It’s a natural occurrence during the holiday season.  It gets people in a holiday (and holiday shopping) spirit.  It can brighten one’s spirits.

And it can also get on one’s nerves, for various reasons.  One is that they’ve heard those songs over and over and over again.  Another may be that someone may not want music to get them into the holiday spirit, or at least certain versions of these carols.  And a third reason may be that some of these carols don’t have anything to do with Christmas directly.

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Entertainment for men

No, this post isn’t about Playboy, though hopefully when you finish reading you’ll understand why I titled this post with that magazine’s former tagline.  This is going to be a rant about a recent controversy a certain fashion retailer got into.  That company is Victoria’s Secret, the (in)famous designer of lingerie and women’s wear that are nowhere near the dowdy floral gowns its founder frequently found on sales racks.  It’s a safe bet that the mall near you has a Victoria’s Secret selling scantily designed undergarments and/or a PINK store selling sleepwear for the college-age set.

Before I get into the controversy in question, take a gander at this photo.  (Gentlemen, don’t drool.)

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Photo credit: Corey Tenold via Vogue

What do you see in that photo?  Obviously, you see a multitude of beautiful women.  That photo is from last year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.  Every year since 1995, and every holiday season since 2001, Victoria’s Secret sets up a very glitzy show to showcase and promote its lingerie, sleepwear, or whatever else they’re selling.  It’s not a sedate affair for sure:  The setting is elaborately designed; the music is live and pulsating; the costumes are extravagant; and the star wattage is high, with A-list stars both strutting the catwalk and providing the music.

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A thought about Saturday…

One Sunday morning over a couple of years ago, I got out of bed, checked the news, and learned of a tragedy in Orlando, Florida.  Yeah, you know the tragedy I’m talking about:  A shooting incident at a nightclub that left 49 people dead, injured several others, and left two communities scarred — the Orlando community and the broad LGBT+ community.

After that tragedy, we grieved together… and mourned together… and recovered together… and stayed vigilant together, hoping another awful tragedy such as that one wouldn’t occur again.

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Nice news and worse news

I had been hoping to use this space to tell you about my evening at the OutReach Pride Banquet this past Friday evening.  I’ll get to that in another post, hopefully in a day or two.  I had also been hoping to use my Sunday and Monday to put salve on the wound of seeing my beloved Milwaukee Brewers’ playoff run come to an end (just one game away from the World Series).  But there’s something even more wounding — an item that affects my trans sisters and brothers — that no amount of salve will heal any time soon.

But first, I want to share with you some good news that might perk up spirits, at least briefly:  The story comes out of Uruguay, or “The Oriental Republic of the Uruguay,” if you want to be all formal.  Uruguay has stood out among its fellow South American nations in terms of not only democracy, peace, press freedom, and economy, but also social advancements, among them tolerance, inclusion, and personal rights.  Not bad for a relatively small country of 3.4 million citizens.

That reputation of tolerance and inclusion was buffeted by news from last week, when the lower half of Uruguay’s General Assembly approved a law that guarantees rights to the country’s transgender citizens.  What kind of rights?

Trans people in Uruguay will have the right to gender confirmation procedures, including surgery and hormone treatments, all paid for by the state.

It assures that trans youth under the age of 18, with parental consent, can undergo gender confirmation procedures, and that child can appeal to the country’s Civil Code if they cannot.

A 1% minimum of public sector jobs will also be reserved for trans citizens over the next 15 years; as well, a certain percentage of public and private educational scholarships

The law will also establish a pension to provide compensation to trans people who were persecuted during Uruguay’s military dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s.

Pretty awesome stuff from a country that has already prohibited incitement to hatred on sexual orientation and gender identity grounds in 2003; gave full marriage rights to same-sex couples in 2013 (and assured them civil unions and health & parental rights before that); and assured trans people the right to change their name and legal gender, with or without surgery, on their legal documents since 2009.  And while trans Uruguayans cannot yet serve openly in the country’s military, perhaps that will be the next roadblock to be cleared in Uruguay, one that the passing of this new law will hopefully help foster.

But while it’s so good that these new advancements for trans people in Uruguay are happening, that’s in Uruguay.  Here at home, however, came news over the weekend that should make you shudder:  The New York Times reported that the administration of You Know Who and his evil cronies is considering a very drastic move — “narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.”  In other words, when interpreting Title IX (the 1972 law that banned sexual discrimination in federally-funded education), they would reverse the previous administration’s policies and seek to limit one’s gender identity by the junk they had in their trunk when they entered this world.  Should there be a question about one’s gender at birth, it would be a settled through a genetic test.  (A genetic test?!)

Needless to say, the news of this proposal left me with a lot of anxious feelings.  For one, I felt frightened for the well being and potential future my trans sisters and brothers may face if this policy comes to fruition.  This move, the brainchild of a so-called “civil rights” director who firmly holds antiquated and myopic beliefs, would, in the eyes of the United States Government, literally wish a whole group of people — at least 1.4 million, by a 2016 guesstimate — into the proverbial cornfield. (Kids, ask your grandparents who spent a lot of time in front of the TV where that term came from.)  If an anti-gay bigot can make a whole demographic of people into “non-persons” with the stroke of a pen, who knows which other group or groups would face a similar fate?  You know, groups who are not old, white, male, protestant, and of Anglo-Saxon descent?

(Side note:  If you thought this anti-trans stand was only about “the bathroom question,” this news proves you dead wrong.)

Then I felt equal feelings of anger and hopelessness.  Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past 2 years, you know that this current administration and its cronies have true disregard for the broad LGBT+ community, if not in law or not (yet) in policy then in belief.  Just the news over this proposal is triggering feelings that our community is being pushed down to the proverbial ground, again.  No, it’s not fun to be trampled upon like this.  Yes, it’s peeving me off, and it should boil your blood as well.

But I also feel a lot of pride and passion in our community.  Almost immediately after this news surfaced on Sunday, there were calls for action, from in-person rallies to the social media topic #WontBeErased or similar variations.  There’s also the threats of legal action if this policy goes to force.  This passion won’t be a magic wand, but for at least this moment it can be the spark of a movement that leads to ensuring that rights and protections for the trans community will not be inhibited.

Perhaps most importantly at this time, I feel a sense of urgency.  And a need for anyone — nay, everyone — to stand up, speak out, and fight back against this pure evil being proposed.  Talk to a friend, co-worker, stranger, neighbor, or even a bigoted relative, but tell them that the rights of human beings are at stake.

I am only one voice, and not the most perfect of voices at that.  But if we all stand together in our own way, however big or small or simple or loud, we will create a powerful voice that will stand up to anti-trans phobia.  It won’t hurt.  Matter of fact, it will only help pave the way to a better future for the trans community, the LGBT+ community, and humankind.


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A vital voice

I want you, the fair readers of this blog, to take a look at this outfit:

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Saturday morning, I made a quick trip to Target.  No, if you’re inquiring, I wasn’t there to add new purchases to my closet, nor did I bring any new clothes home.  However, while walking past the women’s clothing section, I saw this mannequin with a nice pleated skirt and a simple pink top with… well, just read what it says.

Saturday was also a troubling day in the national news.  If you haven’t heard, You Know Who got his man on the highest court in our country.  Ugh.  And it comes after a nomination period that saw said man be accused of gross misconduct in his younger days, including not one, nor two, but three women coming forward to claim he sexually abused them when they were all younger.  More disgusting was the fact that said man vociferously deny those claims, which only exacerbated his bad character and made him look more guilty than he likely already was.

And yet, a group of mostly old, misogynistic men saw fit to put him on the highest court in our country.

Now, I know it’s impossible for our side to win every battle.  But when a battle this important and this hard fought finds our side on the losing end, it’s hard not to feel disappointed.  But through the disappointment, I saw the message on this outfit at Target and thought… yeah, I needed that message on Saturday.

Matter of fact, that was a message everyone needed on Saturday.  And today.  And every day during these dark times.

With those with evil in their hearts and dark motives on their minds threatening our community’s hard-fought freedoms, or at least just waiting do us harm, we should be a “vital voice…”

Yes, it’s good to be that “vital voice” for what’s right (not for the right side, if you know what I mean).

It’s best to be that “vital voice” to stand up for those who go without.  It’s necessary to be that “vital voice” to stand and defend for those in our LGBT+ community who feel threatened for living as who they are, and should not be discriminated because of who they are.

It’s important, now more so than ever, to be a “vital voice” who can stand up to the bullies in our country and the men (well, they are almost all men) who are making all of us live in fear only because they’re living in fear of women who aren’t afraid to stand strong.

I cannot profess to being all that articulate in voicing support for the downcast and others like me in our community.  Indeed, there are those much, much better than I’ll ever be in being that “vital voice.”  But at least I can use this platform, small and unpolished as it may be, to highlight those who think positive and stay strong and never yield or give ground to the hateful.

Even if our voices are small, let’s all speak up together… for when we do, we will be come the VITAL VOICE (note the all caps) that is so very necessary at this time.

(Oh, the outfit? The shirt especially? A certain friend of mine is really big on social justice and standing up for the disadvantaged. I imagine she may want to buy that shirt the next time she’s at Target. Walk the talk, friend. *grin*)


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A poem: “Come On In”

This is the Sunday morning of the OutReach Pride Parade/Rally here in Madison.  Later this afternoon, members of the LGBT+ community will march proudly down State Street and celebrate our hard-fought freedom to live as our true selves.

But as you may have guessed from my previous two posts, this pride weekend in Madison isn’t quite the lovey dovey moment it should be.  This year’s OutReach Pride theme is “Stand up!  Speak out!  Fight back!”  However, it’s been an inward fight rather than an outward one against those who shun our community.  And it’s clearly more than an issue of whether the cops can march in the parade or whether said cops are willing to listen.  At the risk of airing out private conversations, there’s been a bit of resentment within the trans/CD support group I’m a part of.  Well, at least there is an issue within the private Facebook page our group utilizes.  The same people who raised valid issues about the police presence in the parade and how said police treat trans and queer persons of color are also challenging us to embrace that very same TQPOC community.  And while it’s not like a civil war in our group, the boisterous comments in our Facebook page over the past week-plus — heck, within the past 24 hours — sure make it feel like one.

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A big beef over the boys in blue

I’ve been away from WordPress for over a week and, oh boy, has a lot gone on around here.  For one, I am in the midst of new temporary employment, which I promise to expound on in a later post.  But I want to devote this post to a little something… okay, a rather big something that’s been going on here in Madison, one that has plagued the biggest and most important event in Madison’s LGBT+ community.

I’ll cut to the chase and let you know of the outcome:  There will be an OutReach Pride parade this coming Sunday afternoon, starting at the west end of State Street, circling once around Capitol Square, and ending with a rally.  And baring anything unforeseen on my end, I will be there as Allison and marching with fellow members of our crossdressing/transgender support group.

You may be reading that and are thinking that there was a possibility that the parade and rally wouldn’t be taking place at all.  On the contrary, the event is not in any danger of not taking place.  However, it will be taking place without one prominent group of participants — law enforcement.  Had they been part of the parade, there would have been another prominent group that would have boycotted the event — those who have real disdain for law enforcement.

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These are jeans?!

Time for me to clear out a couple of bookmarked web items from my browser.  And I’m doing so with one hand holding my nose, because earlier this spring I bookmarked articles from The Independent and Teen Vogue about the same fashion item.  I’m hesitant to call it “fashion” as I’m not sure if this was just a case of someone pulling a late April Fools joke on the world.

What am I talking about exactly?  Well, three years ago I talked about a trend in denim called “distressed jeans.”  Basically, fashion brands and retailers made and marketed jeans that had intentional wears and tears in them.  These weren’t the still-very-comfortable-but-faded jeans in your closet.  Rather, these were jeans with tears, strains, bleached spots, and other on-purpose distresses that were put on sale for more than they looked like they were worth.  Yeah, you were able to go to an American Eagle or an H&M and plunk down large coin ($65 or so) and take home something you probably could have found for a lot, lot less at a Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul, where the distresses in the jeans they sold were real because, well, someone else lived in them for a long period of time.

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Allison watches (only a little bit of) the Grammys, but enjoys what she saw

First off, I may be ranting in a couple of spots in this post, so please accept my apologies in advance.  Okay, as I’ve mentioned at least a couple of times on here, I don’t get into watching awards shows very much.  Oh, sure, I may sample some of the pre-show red carpet coverage.  And I’ll catch a moment or two of the ceremony as I’m surfing through the channels.  And I’ll certainly read up and/or watch some of the highlights the next morning.  But watching 3+ hours of one award after another and performance after another can feel like a tedious slog.  On top of that, there’s the fact that most awards shows occur on a Sunday night, when I tend to turn in early so that my body and mind (the latter especially) can rest up for the week to come.  (Notice I’m leaving out politics; a certain segment of the populace will sneer at whatever statement of social/cultural import a host, winner, or presenter may say, but I’ll never dissuade them from saying it, especially these days.)

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