Allison M.

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


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May this lady reign

I’ve mentioned on here in the past that I don’t really get into two types of television programming very much:  Awards shows and reality television.  Not to fault anyone who enjoys said programming, but I’ve never got my kicks watching events where glamour overshadows the rewarding of good accomplishments, nor do I take satisfaction in watching how a likely normal person with good intentions get painted in a vicious light for the want of winning a half-million bucks (uh, thanks, prodding producers?).

One other TV staple, or at least it was when I was younger and my mom and sister commanded what we watched on the TV, is the beauty pageant.  Admittedly, a dresser-upper like me would have an inkling to tune in and marvel over the elegant evening dresses and hairstyles the contestants wear on the stage.  And, yes, the women on those stages deserved to compete and present their grace and talent.  But the then-corniness of the Miss America pageant left me with the impression that it and other similar events were the product of a time when when an older, more conservative, and, let’s face it, mostly male mindset decreed a certain kind of feminine beauty. ([cue old timey music] “I say, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal!  Just look at how that pretty little thing struts across that stage.  That dame’s the bee’s knees, I tell ya.”)

But rather than go on and on about how beauty pageants feel antiquated (perhaps a topic for another post), let’s use this particular space to highlight one particular beauty pageant figure on the verge of doing something historic.

That, on her official Instagram feed, is Angela Ponce.  Yes, she looks photogenic and fashion model-caliber glamorous, which is un modo requerido in beauty pageants such as Miss Universe.  Angela has been competing in beauty pageants since at least 2015, when she won the title of Miss World Cadiz.  She is the reigning Miss Spain, and is representing her country this week at the Miss Universe 2018 competition in Bangkok, Thailand. Continue reading


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Some things to be thankful for on Thanksgiving 2018

Happy Thanksgiving 2018, my fellow Americans!  Yes, yes, we know this is a day where we’re supposed to join our families in eating turkey by the plateful, watch starlets lip sync down a New York boulevard, veg out in slumber post-dinner while watching grown men in helmets hit each other into oblivion on only 3 days’ rest… and try to think of what they’re thankful for.  Oh, and start thinking about what gifts to give their loved ones come Christmastime.

While I will likely hate-watch the Macy’s Day Parade (whoops, I did it again), definitely watch some football, and put thoughts on holiday shopping on the back burner, I won’t be with my family on this Thanksgiving.  Not that I don’t want to; it’s just that our family has already had our Thanksgiving to-do the first Saturday of this month.  Just as she did last year on the actual holiday, our mom wanted to host Thanksgiving again at her senior living apartment building.  However, the only spot in said apartment building big enough for all of us — the meeting room — was already booked this day, as well as the Saturdays before and after it.  The earliest she could host us was back on November 4.  And so, that’s when we all got together:  My mom; my stepfather; my sisters and their families; and I, who was assigned (again) to bring pumpkin & apple pies and Cool Whip (the low-fat version, my decision).

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Four years into this blogging thing

I’ve been too preoccupied this week with getting my car fixed, trying to catch up on tasks in my work assignment, and pondering what subjects to write about on this blog that I didn’t think of the significance of this particular date too much.  But since WordPress appears to be big on anniversaries…

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Yep, it was four years ago today that I launched this blog and posted my very first entry.  Since that time, I’ve pounded into my keyboard, and onto this blog, lots of experiences to write about, positive things to trumpet, good people to highlight, fashionable things to marvel over, bad news to gripe over, poetry to express, and memories to share.

Writing this blog is not the easiest thing to do.  There have been times where I’ve wracked my brain on what to write about.  When I know when I want to write out, there’s also the issue of how to write it out; more than once I’ve edited and re-edited and re-re-edited a post.  And of course, there are still times where my non-writing, non-Allison real life can intrude and keep me away from writing a post, just at the time when my writing juices are piqued.

But at least I do make an effort to write, and when I do I get a cathartic feeling over me.  I feel truly excited to share my thoughts and feelings and good words to the world.  It all results in a sense of pride when I hit that big blue button in the corner of my screen marked “publish.”

Hitting that “publish” button also brings a little bit of anxiety, in that I hope that those who read it will like it.  But those fears vanish rather quickly, especially when seeing someone “like” my post or hearing someone tell me (especially in person), “You do a great job on your blog, Allison.”  Even a little bit of constructive criticism buoys my confidence; at least they aren’t saying out loud that my blog stinks.

But above all else, and no matter what anyone else may say, I get a feeling of expressing my true self to the world with every single post.  Yes, its all under a feminine nom de plume, but I feel secure expressing every bit of joy, heartbreak, disappointment, fondness, ecstasy… and pride in being myself and expressing who I am through words on a screen.  It’s a far cry from the moment 37 years ago when a shy, teased, and insecure 11-year-old first felt a feeling of comfort when putting on a feminine garment.

To all of you out there, whether you’re WordPress peeps or simple readers, I sincerely thank you for your support.  Whether it’s the form of good words, encouragement, challenges, applause, or just a simple hit of the “like” button, you’ve kept me going and kept me striving toward my desire to self-express my true self.  Here’s to four more years.


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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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Some very happy returns

It’s been a few days since the 2018 general elections here in the United States.  As with every election season, the 2018 conclusion had some good, bad, and very best news:

  • The good news about that is that we no longer have to put up with awful campaign attack ads dirtying up the airwaves (at least until 2020 or *sigh* late 2019).
  • The bad news is that not every candidate with a forward-thinking viewpoint won their election (as the saying goes, you can’t win ’em all *sigh*).
  • But the very best news?  Well, let me get off this bullet point and tell you…

Okay, the very best news is the advancements of bright, shining, forward-minded political stars on Tuesday night, the biggest highlight being the biggest takeaway of the night, at least among many political pundits:  The Democratic Party gained the majority of seats the House of Representatives!  That means that America now has a little bit of a check and balance against You Know Who and his myopic, misogynistic, anti-everything administration.

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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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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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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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Coming out, so to speak

Today (October 11) is National Coming Out Day, a day set aside to celebrate those in the broad LGBT+ community and to highlight the many in said community who have self-disclosed their sexual or gender identity — “coming out” — to family, friends, or whomever else they feel should know at the time they’re most comfortable to tell them.

When I last opined about National Coming Out Day on here a couple of years ago, I pondered the question out loud, “Will I come out?”  I wasn’t really ready to come out back then, or at least fully disclose to the whole wide world that I live as a male-to-female crossdresser who has been questioning their sexuality.  And I’m still not.

Well, perhaps I should clarify that:  In the past few years, I have indeed displayed my crossdressing side to actual, non-online world.  Well, okay, it’s just safe, accepting locales in Madison and it’s been mostly along with like-minded people like me.  But every time I have done so, regardless of the setting, it’s been an exhilarating experience.

And perhaps I should really clarify all of that:  When I’ve ventured out wearing a wig and a dress and makeup, or whenever I’ve posted photos online, I’ve never made a practice of telling the world, “Yes, my name is [insert my male name here].”  And if you wouldn’t consider that coming out of the closet… well, it’s been technically Allison’s closet that I’ve been breaking out of, so I will both agree and disagree with you a little bit.

Agree and disagree, you’re asking?  Well, yeah, why not?  One of my long-held hopes as Allison has been to display my feminine side to the world at least once.  And in the past couple of years especially, I’ve been doing it quite a bit.  It could be at a private support meeting, or it could be at a post-meeting dinner with friends, or it could be a pride parade.  And each time, it’s been a thrill to have been welcomed and accepted.

But will I come out to my family, colleagues, and relations who have only known me as a loving and devoted son, brother, uncle, and worker?  No, I have no plans to do so.  They only know my male mode side, and I’m still worried that they will shun me and disown me, only because I present a side of me that’s not entirely that of a straight, cis-gender male.  Yes, it’s the pits to live in such fear, but it’s a real fear that I have.  Will they be accepting of me if I came out?  I don’t know for sure.  Maybe one day they will (pardon the expression) come right out and say they’ll love me unconditionally, even if I were to say, hey, I’m not entirely a straight, cis-gender male.  I know I’d love them unconditionally if any of them were to come out.  Of course, those who know me professionally might not care.  Indeed all they will say to me would be on par with, “Yeah, okay, that’s fine, but I need that report tomorrow!” *sigh*

National Coming Out Day is a day whose general idea is that it’s okay, daring, beneficial, or whatever similarly positive adjective to live as openly LGBT+.  And while it’s good to live so openly, there’s still that stigma of being shunned for that reason.  I still live in fear of being shunned by the family I hold dear.  But I am glad that I’ve been accepted by those who are like me and don’t mind me being… well, me.  That includes the online friends who know me as only Allison, those who first met me online and came to meet Allison in person… and the friend who has met both my male and female sides, has appreciated me as a whole person, and has become the closest friend I’ve ever had.

So, yeah, I’m out of the closet, so to speak.  It’s just that those I’m out to mostly know only my female side and just happen to not be blood relatives.  And you know what?  That’s fine.  National Coming Out Day shouldn’t have to be a day where everyone who’s LGBT+ must shout out who they are from the rooftops.  Just doing so to just one person, and only doing so when they’re ready to do so, is what this day is supposed to promote.

On this National Coming Out Day, here’s hoping that you appreciate and admire the stories of those who have come out as LGBT+ to those they care about.  If you’re firmly in the closet and not ready to come out, don’t worry.  While it may not be apparent to you now, there will be those ready to accept and support you when you’re ready to come out.  They may only be friends you haven’t met yet, but know that they’ll be supporting of you when you’re ready.


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Allison’s Jukebox: “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush

That above “#NowPlaying” tweet from over 6 years ago is how I commented on the song I want to go into detail in this post:  “Don’t Give Up,” a duet by the English artists Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush.  Before I get into how moving a song this is, have a listen to it first.  Really, listen to it and don’t just watch Peter and Kate in an embrace.

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