Allison M.

A crossdresser's thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and… oh yeah, dressing up!

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What’s scary… and what’s not-so-scary

On this Sunday morning, the thoughts I communicate in this post are not so much on the disappointing political news of the week, the big sporting event that’s set to take place this evening, or even a big decision I made yesterday (a subject for a future post, I promise).  Rather, it’s about other distressing news affecting the trans community.

Perhaps you’re well aware of the reality that myopic, unsympathetic state legislators (yep, from the right side of the aisle) are introducing bills designed to deny transition care to trans adolescents.  Already in 2020 alone, as reports, legislators in 8 states have introduced bills that would make it a crime for doctors to provide medically necessary care to children with gender dysphoria, with similar proposals about to surface in other conservative-leaning states.

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Allison empties some bookmarks (1/19/2020 edition)

Time to finally get back to “emptying browser bookmarks” and sharing a couple of LGBT-related items you should read, know, and learn.  The first thing I want to share is actually a few tweets posted earlier this month by Faith Naff, who identifies as an author, activist, and transgender… or to be more precise, a trans woman.  And that term, “trans woman,” is important to Faith as it is laid out.  Allow her to explain it to our allies:

To my admission, I had never realized how much adding one space between the words “trans” and “women” would mean so very much until seeing this tweet.  And when interpreting Faith’s reasoning in a follow-up, it has to do in part with a truly dangerous place:  Social media.

Of course, those who dare to misgender us will use platforms other than Twitter and Facebook to deny our true identities.  But the written word can go miles toward painting good or bad ideas toward our community.  Oh, sure, Faith Naff and other trans people (note that space there) would, more often than not, prefer not having to add the word “trans” before the gender they know they are.  But… well, let Faith explain it to someone in a reply:

As the above conversation suggests, Faith’s original tweet got a lot of positive responses, as well as at least one “this happened to me” comment (forgive the upcoming blue language):

As Faith Naff makes clear in her tweets, and at least Katrina Rose does in her responses, properly identifying someone from the trans community can mean so much.  Sure, we’d like to be identified as just male or female, or just doctors or lawyers or bloggers if we wish.  But when the need arises, we’d like to be identified as a person who happens to be trans.  That’s why one little space between two words can ensure so much agency to our community, while at the same time deny those who disdain us an advantage.  Thank you, Faith Naff, for enlightening not only myself but the allies who have our backs.

(Oh, and if you’re wondering… in searching my past posts on this blog, I have never consciously used “trans man, “trans woman,” or similar identifiers without a space in between those words.  Guess I had always knew the importance of this without ever realizing it.)

If you recall last month, Hallmark Channel got into a big to-do over their pulling from their air advertisements from the wedding planning company Zola.  The ads in question featured a lesbian couple at their nuptials.  Hallmark’s move was a capitulation to an anti-LGBT+ group whose mission is to shine an ugly spotlight upon us, that is if they desire to have any light cast upon us at all.

While it was Hallmark’s desire to not have any type of controversial content running on their network (it’s always blue skies and, at Christmastime, constant snowfall at Hallmark), the real controversy was in denying positive representation of LGBT+ people, even if it’s in a 30-second ad.  Deservedly, Hallmark felt the repercussions:  Our community and allies vociferously called out the network, and Zola cut ties with Hallmark completely.  Thankfully, Hallmark reversed course:  They apologized, restored the Zola ad campaign, and began outreach with GLAAD in regards to better representing the LGBT+ community.

While brides and grooms and guests may disagree, weddings such as those Zola depicts in their campaign can be taken by some as an ordinary thing.  Come on, their reasoning could go, weddings take place every weekend everywhere.  Initially, Ellen Kahn thought her wedding was ordinary as well:  Beautiful weather, exchanging of vows, happy family members, equally happy guests, screaming kids.  Well, that’s how she felt until the Hallmark/Zola controversy erupted.

At this point, I must note that Ellen Kahn is married to another woman.  And she also serves as the senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign.  Why is that important here?  Well, HRC helped lead the criticism of Hallmark Channel’s dropping of the Zola ads, going so far as to suspend their “Corporate Equality Index” of Hallmark.  The CEI is a score HRC applies to a business based on that company’s LGBT-related policies and practices.  In 2019, Hallmark was among 571 firms that earned a perfect CEI of 100 for their LGBT+ policies.  Needless to say, heeling to bigots does not look good on a corporate resumé, and not long after Hallmark reversed course, HRC reinstated the company’s CEI grade.

But back to how Ellen Kahn felt about the controversy, and to the link I want to share here:  Earlier this month, Ellen wrote an op-ed for The Advocate in which she communicates how she had looked back on her wedding as an ordinary thing, and how she doesn’t feel that way now.  Certainly not after Hallmark made its misguided move… and certainly not during a time when there are still those who will block our community’s advancements.

But for every barricade that’s erected, there are great many people who will knock it down.  That’s the general tone of Ellen’s piece.  While in her position at HRC, she’s seen the “heartbreaking toll” of an LGBT+ community being bullied, attacked, discriminated, erased, and being turned into (her words) a “political target and punching bag for this nation’s loathsome administration.”  Still, she is greatly heartened by the response of the community and allies toward Hallmark, an HRC-led “grassroots army” that forced a TV network to realize that our community’s existence should not be a controversial subject.

Ellen Kahn, judging from her op-ed, now feels more appreciation of the hard-fought freedom to marry the one she loves.  And judging from the article’s title, she sees the Hallmark/Zola controversy not as a step back but rather “a sign of LGBTQ progress.”  That our community made our voices heard made all the difference.  May that spirit inspire us in that next battle.

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Anita Green for beauty queen

Anita Noelle Green 2017

Anita Green in 2017 (photo source: Anita herself via Self)

There were a couple of items from the week’s news that I want to share with you today.  I’ll share one of them in my next post, but I want to here share a tidbit that piqued my interest thanks to an interview that aired this morning on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.  The talk was with the person you see to your right, Anita Noelle Green of Clackamas, Oregon.  Anita has competed in several beauty pageant events, and currently holds the title of Miss Earth Elite Oregon.  Anita also happens to be an openly trans woman, a fact that is currently preventing her entry in the Oregon preliminaries for the Miss United States of America pageant.  The Miss Oregon event’s director, when returning to Anita the application and $195 entry fee she submitted earlier this year, noted that since Anita is not a “natural born female,” they cannot permit her to participate.

I must stop right here for a moment and note a couple of things:  First, to alleviate any misconception all y’all may have, Anita’s issue is with the Miss United States of America pageant system, which is not related to the Miss USA pageant, which is part of the Miss Universe system and is a totally separate organization.  (Yeah, with pageant names so similar to each other, you need a scorecard to help differentiate them.)  And speaking of Miss USA and Miss Universe, it must also be noted that Anita Green was once part of that particular pageant tree:  When she resided in Montana, Anita was a contestant for the title of Miss Montana USA 2017; she was at the time the third trans contestant in the Miss Universe organization’s history.

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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

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Somebody’s memories

Four years ago, I sung the praises of an advertisement that PFLAG Canada put out to promote and support legal marriage equality worldwide.  The ad was titled “Nobody’s Memories,” and it depicted images of what could have been:  Weddings of same-gender couples from the mid-20th century, shown as home movie footage from an “alternate universe” that gives the viewer chills with their authentic aged styles.  If you want to learn what I’m talking about, check out this blog link to take a look at it yourself; I just watched it again myself and am still struck by how powerful and moving that ad still is.

This week, a news item in the showbiz world made me recall that “Nobody’s Memories” ad and its (*sigh*) imaginary depictions of couples who just happen to be of the same gender in real love.  I’ll talk up that TV item in a bit, but while doing some research on it, I went further down the internet rabbit hole and came across this photo of an actual wedding memory that did happen:


Photo credit: Universal Entertainment Agency via Houston Chronicle

The above photo, as confirmed in this 2014 Houston Chronicle article, is from a small ceremony that took place at Harmony Wedding Chapel in Houston in October 1972.  The groom is Antonio Molina, a shipping clerk, former high school football star, and Navy veteran.  The resplendent bride is William “Billie” Ert, a female impersonator (stage name: “Mr. Vicki Carr”) and former hairdresser.  Yes, William Ert was a male, but he had a voter registration card that listed his gender as “female.”

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Wrong and right ways to commemorate this day

As promised, here’s the second post where I wanted to discuss Memorial Day.  Again, this is a day meant to pay tribute to those who died in service of the United States Armed Forces.  If you’ve paid your own tasteful tribute today, even if it’s as simple as offering condolences or planting an American flag on a military member’s grave, good for you… for you understand the gravity of this solemn day.

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Allison is witness to a RAID!

As I noted in my previous blog post, I’m skipping participating in the Crazylegs Classic today, mentally recuperating from a very grueling work week.  However…

At least I did take the time to do a little something for me.  Friday night, I got out of the house, hit the town, and considered a significant event that occurred way back in the past.  June 28, 1969, to be exact.


Image source: Stage Q on Facebook

This year is the 50th anniversary of the famous Stonewall riots in New York City.  As they occurred during an era of social upheaval in the United States (the late 1960s), they are widely considered to be the catalyst of the gay liberation movement and the modern-day fight for LGBT rights and freedoms.

With the golden jubilee of Stonewall upon us, the Madison-based LGBT theater group Stage Q commissioned an original play that reenacts that important night in history.  The result was RAID! Attack on Stonewall, which ends a 7-performances-over-2-weekends run at the Bartell Theatre this afternoon. Continue reading

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A couple of spring election thoughts

A couple of thoughts that surfaced to the top of my mind the day after an important spring election.  Well, it was important here in Madison, and I’ll bring up why in a second.  If you had spring general elections where you lived, know that it was important for your locale as well, and that you exercised your right to vote.

Perhaps the most noteworthy election occurred in the city of Chicago, which in Lori Lightfoot will see only its second female mayor, not to mention its third African-American mayor. (That her opponent was also black and female made it an historic campaign.)  Lightfoot is also gay, and will become Chicago’s first openly LGBT mayor.

Lori Lightfoot’s victory is certainly noteworthy and historic in Chicago, certainly perking the spirits of her supporters and some optimism within the city’s LGBT community.  But here in Madison, we had our own significant election this week, involving the person pictured to your right.  Satya Rhodes-Conway has called Madison home for 20 years.  She served on Madison’s City Council for 6 years and had been working with a UW—Madison-based think tank when she decided to run for the office of Mayor of the City of Madison.

Satya was among 6 candidates for mayor and placed in the top two when the first round of the election was held in February.  The other person who advanced to this week’s election is perhaps best known by this moniker:  “Mayor for Life.”  No, don’t take that literally, but he did spend 22 years over 3 tenures as mayor that covered parts of five decades.  That and the fact that his viewpoints and fighting spirit matched that of most of the citizenry (progressive, radical) gave one the sense that he could be mayor for as long as he lived on this earth.

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A poem: “Stand”

Today (March 31) is the International Transgender Day of Visibility.  This is the tenth anniversary of this day, which is intended to highlight trans people of all stripes worldwide, as well as the accomplishments we’ve made and the difficulties we still face.

For sure, it’s good that in recent years the trans community has made so many positive advancements.  As well, it’s great to see positive representations of our community (the TV series Pose, for one).  These have helped foster a much-needed acceptance of us by those in the cis-gender community.

But for all our personal and collective gains, modest or otherwise, there have been equal amounts of disgust backlash toward us, especially from the extreme portions of the politically and culturally conservative corners.  Just one example is the “mission” of You Know Who and his cronies to prevent trans service members from serving openly in the United States Armed Forces.

It’s anti-trans attitudes like these that still makes the need for cis-gender allies all the more greater.  The activist Miss Major said it best in a Twitter video that went viral this week, stating that those who care for our community are “the people who need to become more visible.”  In other words, we need allies to stand up and tell the dismissive world that we’re not the pariahs the closed-minded think we are.

The following poem is inspired by TDOV; the anti-trans attitudes that sadly still linger; the need for cis-gender allies to come out from their closets, so to speak, and stand up for us; and to a lesser extent, the news this week that there will be no LGBT+ pride parade here in Madison this summer.  Again, we’re not evil or deviant.  It’s just that the rest of the world still needs to recognize that and stand to our defense.


I still need to take this stand
And remind you of who I am
I’m not what that certificate says I am
But I am still more than that

I can do so many things
Build buildings, fly planes
Or put out flames
Even run a mile in 10 minutes flat

I can be a pilot or a poet
For too long, I’ve been flat on my face
But I getting back into the race
With the help of allies who’ll be my friends

I can stand and deliver
I can serve and protect
I can fight to defend your freedoms
But Lord knows that I’m in need of them

We are one nation, indivisible
But I can’t be invisible
I’m human, can’t you see?
Why can’t you and others get get past my identity?

You only want an explanation
As to my gender identification
Why such the rush?
Does it matter to you where I flush?

I may be a guy or girl
Or somewhere in the middle
My identity shouldn’t be a riddle
Really, why can’t you see that?

I don’t blame the doctors who had to write down
That I was only one gender
The day into this world I entered
But since then, I know I don’t define as that

There’s no need for examination
I live my life not as a fabrication
I don’t need your interrogation
So put away your spotlight

Help me make this stand
Please take my hand
And let’s tell this land
That for trans rights, we must fight

Don’t wish us into a cornfield
Or put barricades before us
Be our allies, and forward let’s thrust
Across this great, yet still terrifying, land

Let’s have vision of persistence
Against those who still deny and resist us
Remind them that we’re not just trans, but also human
And always and forever part of our Maker’s plan

So, please take my hand
And together, you and I
We’ll make this stand

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A poem: “Drive”

Many, many, many moons ago, when WordPress was still keeping active their site of daily writing prompts, I came across one of their one-words prompts:  Drive.”  That’s all it was, just the word “drive.”

I started to write a poem as a response to that one word.  Emphasis on the word “started,” as I had a hard time finishing it.  I wanted it to be longer and more direct than what you’ll read below.  But at least the theme is still what I originally had in mind — the fact that the word “drive” has more than one meaning, and isn’t just about taking your car somewhere.


Okay, so you have a car
It can get you from “Point A” to “Point B”
From this old town you’ve been in forever
To somewhere where you’ve never been before

Why are you in your car?
Why are you going from “Point A” to “Point B”?
Are you sure you need a car to get there?
Perhaps your life is in need of repair?

Maybe you need some gas in your tank
No, not the tank in your car
But the one in your soul
Or at least a better map
That doesn’t show the road
You’ve driven into a deep, deep groove

Yeah, keep going from “Point A” to “Point B”
But don’t forget the other routes
That may take you to “Point C”