Allison M.

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


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Allison’s Jukebox: “Don’t Give Up” by Maggie Szabo

Do you remember my post from September where I added a song called “Don’t Give Up” to “Allison’s Jukebox”?  You know the one where Peter Gabriel sings of deep lament and Kate Bush tries to steer him toward the positive?  Yeah, I bummed you out with that one, didn’t I?

Well, let’s see if I can brighten up your spirits a little bit with another addition to my jukebox that just happens to have the same title, “Don’t Give Up,” yet has a background that nicely dovetails with the week we’re in right now, Transgender Awareness Week.  Please have a look & listen to the Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/YouTube personality Maggie Szabo:

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Putting on a dress and a wig…

[*sound of loud rumble of thunder and spooky music*]

Salutations, ghosts and goblins!  Before you directed your eyes to this paragraph, you probably took a gander at that old photo of yours truly at the top of this page.  Yeah, that was me a few years back looking all so sultry in a sexy witch outfit and leather boots.

The timing of both donning that costume back then and writing this post now are intentional:  Yes, today is, and the date of that photo was, Halloween.  And since it’s Halloween, you’re probably thinking this post will be all about the joys of dressing up en femme on Halloween, right?

Well… [*sound of record scratching on phonograph*] not really.

Halloween has always been, and perhaps always will be, an occasion when you can dress up and display to the world a personality you normally wouldn’t appear as.  Many of my crossdressing sisters (and, yes, brothers too) will use this day as the perfect excuse to bring their hidden side out of the proverbial closet.

More likely than not, Halloween will be a time when some fine young gentleman will don a wig and a dress, slap on some heels and makeup, and carouse around town in a female appearance.  And depending on the effort they put into their outfit and comportment, the resulting display will have various success.  Just read them for a few seconds and you can tell whether they dressed up en femme to make a good impression on passersby, or just threw on something for their own giggles and jollys.

The thought of that “I’m just dressing up for Halloween” thing brings me to this quote I just happened to come across the other day during an online search:

“Putting on a dress and a wig doesn’t make you a transgender woman.”

Unfortunately, the link that had that quote was broken, meaning I can’t confirm the context the speaker was intending with those words.  I do know, however, that those words came from a trans woman.  And I know that said woman started out life assigned with a male identity, but would over time begin to don women’s clothing and makeup; take on an online feminine identity; and eventually realizing that said feminine identity was the one she was born to be, birth certificate be dammed.

Despite not knowing the context of her line, I could imagine how that could be interpreted as being directed to some guy only dressing up as a woman for some Halloween party.  “Hey, dude!” he’ll probably tell his friends in a bit of intoxication and self-sarcasam, “I look all girly.”  But as soon as his party ends and he’s safely home, he’ll shed that dress and wig and head back to the everyday life of a cis-gender male.  And during that brief time he wore a dress and a wig for the sake of doing so, there’s a good chance that he won’t have the chance to feel empathy toward someone who has struggled with gender identity and has yearned for acceptance while transitioning.

But then… that guy just wearing a wig and dress on Halloween could be someone like me.  As I noted above, Halloween is the perfect time for a crossdresser to dress up, leave the closet, and have a good time.  And it doesn’t always have to be at a party.  I mean, they could use the day to dress up for the camera instead of some partygoer.  I say this because a fellow WordPress peep whose blog I love to follow posted photos of her wearing a vinyl dress and butterfly wings.  Yes, she posted them for Halloween.  And, yes, she’s a male-to-female crossdresser just as I am.  And, yes, even though she may not live full-time as a woman (and neither do I), she does consider herself part of the broad trans community.

But even though she’s a part of our transgender community, she doesn’t live full-time as a woman.  But does that make her any less of a transgender woman?  I don’t think so at all, and I think a big part of that, in addition to her looking stunning, is the fact that she’s a big champion of our community.  She has used her blog to share stories about her everyday life, her photos, and tidbits in support of fellow crossdressers, other trans people, and our allies.  She has great comportment through her positive actions, and that’s something that’s beneficial for our community at a time when we desperately need any positive imagery.

So, back to that quote I came across:  “Putting on a dress and a wig doesn’t make you a transgender woman.”  The person who said that has a valid point:  Don’t just put that dress and wig on tonight.  If you’re gonna look the part, try to play the part.  And, no, I don’t mean put on a falsetto voice.  Be friendly to others.  Have a positive demeanor.  Take a compliment.  Give a compliment, too, especially to some other guy who may also be wearing a dress and wig.

And don’t just compliment that guy in that dress and wig, empathize with them… for perhaps deep down inside they are trying to figure out what it is that makes them a transgender woman.


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Was I recognized?

I want to share with you a little personal tidbit I left out during my recap of the OutReach Awards Banquet I attended last week Friday.  And I want to preface this by saying that I have never told anyone I’ve worked with or encountered in my professional career that I dress up as Allison, nor do I have any plans to do so.  And there have been only two people who have seen me present as both female and male, and both of them have seen me in male mode only once.

All that being said, there was someone I’ve encountered in my professional male-mode past who was literally inches from me at the OutReach banquet.

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The 26th Annual OutReach Awards Banquet

If I haven’t said so in specific terms before, you’ve likely gained the impression on here that it’s always a thrill for me to get dressed up and venture outside my house as Allison.  And while I’m one who normally likes the intimacy of small groups, an awesome feeling always surfaces in me when en femme in a large congregation of people.  Such was the case again last Friday evening:

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Image source here

OutReach, the LGBT+ support center here in Madison, staged its annual awards banquet last week. at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center.  As the name implies, the event is a combination of a fine meal, friendly conversation, and awards to those who promote equality and quality of life for the LGBT+ community.

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Cheapest hottest-looking outfit ever

You know, as much as the subject of my last post was intended to keep one’s spirits up, I still felt a bit down after writing it.  So, to perk myself up — and you as well — let’s do something I’ve been wanting to get around to doing:  Venture into my closet (figuratively speaking) and pull some things out (figuratively speaking).

Vinyl trousers and Gitano jacket

Last March, I ventured out as Allison for a couple of evenings of poetry and spoken word performances.  One of those was the very chilly evening where I sported this gingham trench coat.  What did I have underneath?  Well, you’re looking at it.

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Allison carries the banner at the Pride Parade

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Image credit here

It’s been a full week, one that’s been somewhat busy and very wet, since the OutReach Pride Parade & Rally, but I’m finally ready to share with you some of my experience.  As I’ve mentioned here and here, this year’s parade and rally was held under an ugly shadow, not from any rain clouds but under the specter of controversy.  A loud contingent from Madison’s LGBT+ community raised a ruckus over the presence of the Madison Police Department at the parade, with some threatening to stage a counter-protest.  In the end, parade organizers withdrew the applications of LGBT+ employee resource groups from MPD and UW—Madison Police as well as the Dane County Sheriff.  Members from those groups could (and did) march in the parade, but had to do so unarmed and out of uniform.  (Side note:  The Madison Fire Department decided to withdraw one of their engines from the parade in sympathy to the boys in blue; it was MFD’s decision.)  While OutReach’s move to formally eliminate the police entries upset some parade supporters and still likely upset some protesters (especially since the parade permit still required MPD to provide security), the parade and rally (**SPOILER ALERT**) went off without a hitch and without any rabble-rousers causing disruptions.

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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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Happy Pride Month 2018!

320px-gay_flag-svgIt’s almost midway through the month of June and I’m way late into acknowledging the fact that this is Pride Month!  This, of course, is the month we in the LGBT community celebrate our community as a whole, display our true selves at various events, acknowledge the many figures and allies from around the world who have helped pave positive avenues for us as a community and as human beings, and to remember those in our community who left us too soon and who have handed us the (rainbow-colored) torch to hold high into the future.

I make that note of remembrance at the end of that paragraph in part to acknowledge this sad fact:  Two years ago this morning, 49 members of our proud LGBT community lost their lives in a truly senseless act of terror at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  It was heartbreaking to hear the news then. It’s just as heartbreaking to remember it now.  And it’s still necessary to remember the lives lost, for they dared to celebrate who they were and their deaths inspire us to stay resilient in the face of those who still desire to keep our community under their thumbs or out of sight entirely.

Despite the tragedies and difficulties and obstacles we still face as a community, it’s still important to celebrate who we are.  More importantly, we still need to celebrate how far we’ve come together… and, boy oh boy, we have come a long way, with positive representations in many types of media and with the assistance of a supportive generation who isn’t too quick to judge by sexual or gender identity, unlike the older, more conservative generations who only see us as a “sin”  Our community is talented, and we are deservedly valued and recognized for our positive contributions to society, no matter what letter of the acronym we fall under.

Not all of us will have the right and privilege to celebrate Pride Month this month.  Indeed, Green Bay (my old city of residence) will have their own pride celebration next month, while we in Madison will have our annual pride event in August.  But wherever you are and whenever you have the chance to do so, don’t be afraid to let your own rainbow shine.  Happy Pride Month, everyone!


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Taking notes would have been helpful back then

I want to share a thought or two that occurred to me today, and it peripherally has to do with a couple of tidbits about Alone: A Love Story, a podcast I recommended in my previous postAlone is an audio memoir written and narrated by Michelle Parise, and reading up about the show at this link, Parise mentions her penchant for writing down details about her life as soon as they happen.  She mentions that she’s has hundreds of journals in her possession, all carrying short story- and dialog-style details about her daily life.  It’s the details in those journals that allows Parise to bring out specifics about this and that in Alone.

Earlier today, I listened to an episode of another of my podcast recommendations, The Debaters.  By pure coincidence, one of the subjects put up for debate in that Debaters episode had to do with writing memoirs.  It was a debate (and a pretty funny one, of course) considering the reasons people need to write memoirs (to leave behind insights on life and the stories to back them up) versus refraining from doing so (they can be pointless and uninspiring).

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A poem: “Wonder and Worry”

Here’s another poem I had previously been working on and let sit idle.  Luckily, I have finished it and am able to present it to you.  I should preface this by saying I have no plans to come out as a crossdresser to my immediate family; it’s the fear of being shunned with rejection that prevents me from doing so.  But that’s not to say I’ve never played out the possibility of doing so in my mind.  The thoughts and concerns I’ve had about coming out are the basis of this poem.  Perhaps one day I’ll have the gumption to come out and say, “Yeah, I have a female side.”  But until then, I have to…

“Wonder and Worry”

I can’t help but wonder
If I came out today
As a crossdresser and transgender?
What would the people around me say?

Should I come out to my mother
Who loves her only son?
She already has two daughters
But would she accept a third?
And would our family bond come undone?

How about my two sisters?
Would they approve?
I think the younger wouldn’t mind
But with the other, well…
I’m hesitant to make a move

Would my four nieces comprehend
About what their proud uncle would say?
I’d hope they’d all love and accept me
No matter what gender I would display
They are of a younger generation
One that’s more accepting of LGBT people such as I
But I fear their parents have molded them
To have conservative, disapproving minds

Or how about my stepfather
With whom I don’t see one-on-one?
Being the stern man that he is
Would my presenting as a woman
Be something he’d never condone?

What about those I work with?
Our company culture wouldn’t mind
But they have one major concern
Around it my whole world turns:
Whether my job wold be on the top of my mind

At least there are those like me
Those who saw another gender in the mirror
Together, we show each other support
And share our joys, hopes, and fears

I’m glad my trans sisters and brothers are there for me
But they haven’t known me as long
As the sisters, parents, nieces, aunts, and uncles
In the family I come from

I know, I can’t please everyone
I’ve got to please myself first
But if I came out
That fear of no familial support
Would leave me sad and hurt

It’s why I wonder and worry
About coming out and its repercussions
Would it bring me the joy of being myself?
Or would it leave me nothing but compunction?

Perhaps I’ll wait and see
If the coast will be clear
And then
Just maybe then
I’ll tell the world about both sides of me
And the world will hopefully be supportive
Especially the ones who I hold dear