Allison M.

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

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Allison watches the birdie

A little admission:  I have never really had any sort of a bucket list.  You know what I’m talking about, the list of items and activities you feel you absolutely, positively need to do before you (*ahem*) shove off this mortal coil.  I’ve never had the urge to see an exotic locale (Canada is good enough for me), nor have I desired to parachute from a plane (I hate heights).  Nope, for better or worse, I’ve been rather modest about the figurative heights I want to shoot for in my life.

That’s not to say that I don’t have things I would love to do as Allison before I expire, not minding too much if I will never get the chance to do them.  I already have presented my femme side in public several times in the past year alone, including marching in a pride parade and performing my poetry.  I have also longed to get a professional makeover and pose for the camera afterwards.

Well, back in September 2017, I didn’t get a professional makeover.  But I did pose for a professional photographer.

Sunglasses and leather jacket

Last September, I learned on Facebook about a “LGBTQ Photo Pop-Up” event here in Madison.  The event was set up by Caitlin, who runs her own photography business called Smoketree Photography.  As Caitlin communicated on the event’s Facebook entry, the rationale for the event was this:  Intentionally or otherwise, a LGBT+ person can be put in an uncomfortable situation when working with photographers who come from a background that can be considered “traditional.”  Their subjects and events are usually heteronormal in nature (e.g. man-and-wife weddings, proms, etc.), and their mindset can be heteronormal as well.  This can result in photos that don’t reflect how their LGBT+ client see themselves as.  Caitlin and her “pop-up” event sought to alleviate any such discomfort and create a safe environment for their subjects.

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Allison gets Olympic fever (Pyeongchang edition)

2018 Olympic Winter Games logoA question for you:  Have you watched any of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games at this point?  Yeah, you knew I was going to ask you about the Olympics, what with the title of this post, the logo to your right, and the “BOOM! Boom! Buh-BOOM! Boom!” coming out of your TV set.  Since Pyeongchang, South Korea is now in the second half of its Olympic fortnight, I thought I’d highlight some interesting notes about I’ve watched and read about the Olympics.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of these Games that I’ve noticed and taken a routing interest in is the performances of LGBT athletes in Pyeongchang.  This article from The Advocate gives a nice summation of the performances by out athletes up to this point, but I’ll do a quick summary of what are perhaps the two most noteworthy feats, both of which happen to be in figure skating.  First, there was out skier Eric Radford of Canada, who with skating partner Meagan Duhamel were part of the gold medal winners in the team competition and later won bronze in the pairs competition.  It’s a bummer that both Eric and Meagan are retiring from competitive skating, but they are certainly going out on a high note.

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A poem: “Makeup”

Show of hands:  How many of you are familiar with haikus?  Okay, quite a lot of you.  For the very few uninitiated of you, a haiku is a short form of poetry that originated in Japan and usually has 3 lines of 17 syllables —5 syllables in the first and third lines, 7 in the middle line.

When written well, the simplicity of a haiku can potently communicate subject, setting, and feeling.  Fitting all that into the 5-7-5 rule can be a challenge to a relative poetry novice such as myself.  But the nature of haikus inspired me to write what you’re about to read.  What also inspired me was a support group meeting I attended Saturday, during which was presented makeup tips for those presenting as male-to-female.  It was a pretty nice presentation, and I gained (and wrote down) tips that will help accentuate my feminine presentation, including tips on contouring your cheekbones and how not apply foundation as if you’re painting a wall.  (Memo to self:  It’s makeup, not spackle.)

The thoughts about those tips led me to write a few lines of prose… and for some reason, it also tempted me to write in haiku form.  But this won’t be a haiku per se.  For one, there are considerably more than three lines, although each stanza has three lines.  And two, not all of the stanzas fit the 5-7-5 rule.  Still, I consider this a nice way to keep my writing and poetry juices flowing.  Enjoy.


Moisturized skin glows
Ready to become a canvas
With makeup for paint

Primer and powder
Hides evident imperfections
Of this imperfect skin

Concealed under eyes
Are the weight of stress from life
I want to shed tonight

Full, luscious, lovely lips
Sit pouting, waiting to be kissed
By the right person

Contours along cheeks
And nose and foreheads and chin
Helps present a different gender

Makeup on my face
Converts me from the man I usually am
Into a pretty woman

My makeup hides lines
That show the toll of work and life and strife
As well as gender

Makeup helps to ease
My male mode tribulations for a while
And lets Allison come out to play

Makeup can be my shield
That helps stave off disapproving stares
From an evil world

Yes, I know it can’t stop
Their words of anger and vitriol
Or their name-calling

And I know it can’t cure all
Of my everyday fears and worries
It’s just a temporary salve

But just for a while
A day, or a night, or whenever
Makeup boosts my confidence

It helps present me
As the well-polished woman… and kind person
I’d love the world to see

And if someone I see
Says to me, “You’re quite beautiful”
Oh, how happy I would be

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2017 was the year…

This is the final weekend of 2017.  And, yikes, what a year.  When I say that, I obviously don’t mean that 2017 was full of happiness and good cheer.  To the contrary, 2017 was crappy.  To confirm that, one needn’t look to far from the current occupant of a certain house in Washington.  Yes, the man with thin orange skin, the biggest ego in the universe, truly poor character, and a reputation of wanting to destroy (or at least unjustly distort the reputation of) anyone who doesn’t get in line with him and see the world the way he sees it.  And the way he sees it, he’s the only savior from this world of evil and prejudice, despite overwhelming evidence that he’s the leading propellant of evil and prejudice.

Yeah, You Know Who (my shorthand for the above mentioned man with thin orange skin) and his minions have led us into very dark times here in 2017.  But for every dark story this old year has wrought, there has been at least one positive story to counter it.  And with it being the end of the year, it’s high time for me to think of some positives.

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The definitions of “family”

This is the holiday season, a time usually observed with holiday-specific traditions, religious commemorations, parties, and gift giving.  This time is also usually associated with being with or at least thinking about the family members you know, love, and hold dear to your heart.  Or at least those who share with you some sort of trait.  When one thinks “family,” they usually associate the word with being bound by blood or marriage.  That includes the parents who raised you from youth to adolescence and wished you good luck and good guidance as you ventured into adulthood; the siblings who grew with you and look up and to you for mutual support; and the cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents who provide their own versions of love, support, and encouragement.

Unfortunately, for some in the broad LGBT+ community, the term “family” doesn’t mean the natural definition of parents, siblings, etc. noted above.  Many has been the case where someone who identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, or even simply questioning has been blackballed by their relatives.  Not only is it heartbreaking to think that those who identify as LGBT+ can face such shunning, it should also make one reconsider the traditional definition of “family.”

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Why I’m thankful (or not thankful) on Thanksgiving 2017

As I write this, it’s Thanksgiving morning in the United States.  As my fellow Americans surely know by now, this is a day to meet up with family, eat copious amounts of food, watch grown men hit each other on only 3 days’ rest… and try to think of what they’re thankful for.  I’ve thought a bit about the intent of this holiday’s title, and in this post I’ve compiled some of things I’m thankful for — and a few I’m not thankful for — here in 2017.

  • I am thankful for still being employed.  Well, duh.  And while some of the work may be tedious, and while this is one of the busiest times of year for our team, at least I am doing a job I mostly enjoy using skills I’m proud to possess.
  • Despite my own employment and the fact that Madison has a pretty good climate for job prospects and growth, I am not thankful that this Thanksgiving finds some around here who, for reasons beyond their control, must go without gainful employment  Case in point:  Someone I’ve built a good friendship with this past year (more on how that came about in a little bit) was let go from her steady job last summer.  As with other unemployed people around here, I sincerely hope my friend will gain a job with a company that will appreciate her skills, her work ethic, and especially her passion for those who have less and for life in general.  (Side note to my friend:  I apologize in advance that my bringing up your plight on here may make you sad on this day, but know that I am here to respect and support you and wish you nothing but the best.)
  • I am thankful that I still live in such a wonderful, progressive, and wonderfully progressive community that is Madison.
  • I am even more thankful that I’ve had the opportunity — and the gumption — to step out as Allison into a city so welcoming.  I’ll likely bring this up again in an end-of-year post, but 2017 has been a big year for my stepping out of my wardrobe and into the world, from performing poetry to marching in a parade to attending a banquet.  These are experiences that I will never forget.
  • I am thankful for the health and happiness of my family.  I’m also thankful that we’ve grown bigger through the uniting in marriage of my youngest sister with her husband and his extended family (including his daughters).
  • I am also thankful that my four nieces are growing into wonderful young women.  One of them graduated from high school this year, and I hope she has ventured into what will be a positive future for her.  I hope, too, that my other nieces will have positive futures of their own.
  • I am not thankful that some in my family have our differences.  Those differences have been shown bare through Facebook:  My mom is among a (thankfully) few of my Facebook friends who are not above sharing a conservative-leaning meme with their friends.  At least I’m not one who uses Facebook much (at least as Male Mode Me), so I don’t have to see those irritating memes very much.  When I do, however, I’m not above using the “angry” reaction button to show my displeasure (I hope Mom and my Facebook friends get the message).
  • Needless to say, I am not thankful that our society has become more and more divided over the past year since You Know Who was elected You Know What.  Most of the previous 8 years, we didn’t have that feeling of our country being ripped apart centimeter by centimeter.  Now, in the past year, it’s as if those rips are not metaphoric and are miles in width — with the chasm being filled not by bridges but by walls.
  • Despite that, I am thankful that a great many people in this country are willing to stand up for what’s right and just, rising above the hatred and vitriol to stand for a country that should not have fear and hatred as its bedrock.
  • Above all else, I am very, very thankful to have joined and in and being a relatively active part of a transgender/crossdresser support group over the past year.  I regularly meet up with this group’s members, and they have proven to be a wonderful group.  They are ready to lend an an ear, their advice, and their support to those like me, regardless how how we identify.  (Respect for others’ differences is our group’s own bedrock.)
  • I have come to know my above mentioned friend through this TG/CD group; she is a cis-gender ally who respects and admires us for the people we are and the identity we know we are.  Friendships like this can be a rare thing for some, and I’m very glad — and very, very thankful — to have found such a friendship.

And just as I am very, very thankful for the friends I’ve built over the past year, I am very, very thankful for your readership and kind words.  Whoever you are, wherever you may be, whatever your identity, and whatever your background, here’s hoping Thanksgiving 2017 proves to be a happy time for you, and that you have your own reasons to be thankful.  Have a safe and enjoyable day.

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Allison’s night at Trans Monologues

Okay, okay, okay!  I know you’ve been waiting with baited breath for me to tell all about my night at the Trans Monologues event.  You haven’t?  Well, even if you haven’t, here’s where I finally talk about it.


As I mentioned previously on here, Trans Monologues is an annual event put on by the University of Wisconsin—Madison’s LGBT Campus Center.  The event, which coincides with Transgender Awareness Week, aims to be a “night of honest expression about the joys and trials of being anywhere on or off the gender-variant spectrum” (direct quote from the event’s Facebook page, where the above image appears).

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A poem: “Who…”

Before I (finally) recount my performance last Friday at Trans Monologues, I want to first present to you, for the first time on this blog, the poem I performed at the event.  The reason for this is to have a preface to my post about my performance at the event, which will include how I presented the poem.  (Spoiler alert: It involved emphasizing some lines with hand gestures.  No, not those kinds of hand gestures.)

As for the poem itself?  This was one of two poems I wanted to refrain from publishing on here until after presenting them live.  Back in August, I submitted this and a few others for consideration at another trans-related performance event.  And as I mentioned here, I was turned down.  That did to not only a bit of soul searching but also editing and re-editing the two new poems.  (For the record, I’ve already published the other poem, and it’s found here.)  The re-editing process included some re-re-editing after I read it aloud for folks in a trans support group I regularly attend.  They were more supportive, were not one to readily scrutinize so harshly, and are part of a community that is this poem’s inspiration.  They did offer some praise, but also some constructive advice I heeded, and the final result is what you are about to read.

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Some thoughts on TDOR 2017

While I’m still formulating a post about my performance at Trans Monologues last Friday (I promise to you it will come in due time), I want to mention something held in that same venue (Madison Public Library) immediately after the event.

11-17-2017 817-20pm

The group of five you see above are from the Mad City Sisters.  Yes, I know they look quite peculiar to some of you, but it’s their trademark look.  Though they are usually a joyous group, you can tell behind that fancy dress and all that greasepaint that they had serious looks on Friday night.  That was because they were presenting the vigil portion of the event.  Just as Trans Monologues was meant to coincide with Transgender Awareness Week, the vigil was to acknowledge Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is today (November 20).  Together, the Sisters presented a list of trans people lost over the past year to senseless acts of transphobic violence, complete with a mourning bell and words of divine prayer.

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Three years into this blogging thing

It’s Friday as I write this, and I have the entire day off.  A good thing, yes, since it gives me a three-day weekend.  But it’s an even better thing for me since it’s been a major bummer of a week, thanks to taking my (supposedly) sweet little car into the shop not once but twice.  The first, unplanned visit was because of a flat tire.  On my drive into work on Monday, I had to dodge a little yet quite noticeable something that the construction site across from my place of employment did not sweep up.  However, I heard a little “pop” in the back of my car.  While I had dodged what I had to dodge, I wasn’t expecting something else in the road — a nail, which I didn’t realize I had run over until my work day ended and I came back to my car.  The good news is that there was a tire place literally two doors down from my place of employment, and they were able to replace my tires and get me back on the road that night. (I say “tires” because they got me with the up-sell thing and replaced both of my rear tires, since they didn’t have a single tire in stock that matched the size of the good rear tire.)

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