Allison M.

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


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More Pride colors

It’s still June, and it’s still Pride Month.  And while, for understandable reasons, many extravagantly-constructed Pride celebrations have been few and far between this month, it’s not as if the LGBT community’s biggest month hasn’t gone unrecognized.  I mean, earlier this month in at least Madison and Los Angeles, relatively last-minute rallies have taken place to celebrate Black LGBT+ peoples.

Still, it’s likely that due to the virus that’s going around, lots of Pride festivities have either been postponed or cancelled.  For sure, Milwaukee’s PrideFest was scrubbed from last weekend’s calendar.  And here in Madison, Magic Pride Festival would’ve taken place in the flesh this August, but instead will be a virtual event.  (Bummer.)

So in lieu of anything big or impromptu or delayed, we must make due with the smaller commemorations of Pride Month.  Like the semi-bathing of Overture Centerthe semi-bathing of Overture Center in rainbow lights earlier this month, the picture of which is still fresh in my mind but leaves me thinking… meh.

Or…

Back on June 12, a couple of days after Overture Center did the all-rainbow thing, the UW—Madison’s Memorial Union (they of the famous sunburst terrace chairs) bathed their building in solid colors in recognition of Pride Month.  At that point, Memorial Union was closed as an anti-virus precaution (they’ll begin a phased opening tomorrow).  But just as with Overture’s well-intentioned display, the Union wanted to do theirs before June was out, and theirs was… well, not underwhelming.  I hate to play favorites on this, but the Union’s display ran circles around Overture’s.

Regardless of the simplicity or quality, however, these displays can’t go unappreciated.  And right now, even though the broad LGBT+ community has made so many advancements, there’s a still a need for those to say, in one form or another, “We see how beautiful you are.”


My aunt

Just a small, sad bit of personal news:  Late last night, I got a text message from my mother letting me know that an aunt on my stepfather’s side passed away.  Admittedly, I didn’t think too much about her, since we weren’t regularly in touch and my mom or sister only mentioned in passing how she had been doing. (I’ll spare you the details about how she died.)  Still, I feel a little bit of sadness in my aunt’s passing, especially considering her role in my family’s life, namely she was once my mom’s landlady and introduced to her the brother who would become my stepfather.

According to Mom, my aunt will have only a modest celebration of her life.  There’ll be no fancy funeral or even a visitation; just a small gathering of her immediate family and close friends.  It’s different from the wake and funeral for her first husband I remembered attending when I was 8 years old.  But a modest sendoff was my aunt’s final wish… and oftentimes it’s a preference that should be appreciated.


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Mothers’ Day 2020

I had been planning to write either a poem or a work-related post here.  But I’ll just push those aside and acknowledge the fact that today (May 10) is Mother’s Day.  With all that’s going on, this Mother’s Day feels more peculiar to some than in years past.  Oh, I’ve already given my mother and sisters well wishes via text and phone.  But it seems incomplete in that I didn’t get the chance to purchase and send them cards for the occasion.  Call me old fashioned, if you must, in regards to the cards, but Male Mode Me thinks Hallmark says it better than I could.

The medical circumstances surrounding Mother’s Day 2020 reminds me that there are others who will, sadly, not get the chance to wish their mothers a happy day today.  An online friend of mine (I’ll keep their identity private here) lost their mother to illness in the past year.  While I’m sure this will be a heavy day for them, I hope that the unconditional love their mom gave them while on this earth will continue in their heart and mind for as long as they may live.

Yes, wishing the women who brought us into this world is an obvious thing to do today.  And, no, many of us won’t get to give them those wishes.  But here’s hoping that we can still recognize the other “mother figures” who have influenced and/or supported us:

They could be a stepmother or grandmother or other blood relative…

They could be the friendly neighbor or guiding babysitter…

They could also be our favorite school teacher from school…

They could be the drag mother (yes, they do qualify here) who takes the up-and-coming performer under their wing…

Or they could just be someone who presents the feminine identity online they may not get to do in the real world, but they won’t hesitate to provide advice or support to those who were as nervous as they were identity-wise when they started out…

Whatever the case, never forget the many mothers out there, and the many mothers in your own lives, whether they’re one or many, living or deceased.  Take the time to think about them and perhaps give them an appreciative word and the best of Mother’s Day wishes today.


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Where a superpower could come in handy

A long time ago on this blog — on this post, in fact — I talked about what kind of a superpower I would like to have.  That was an easy choice for me:  Ahead of flying or being invisible or altering space and time, the power I would like to have would be to easily change from male to female in a snap.  A natural for me, what with my being a crossdresser and all.

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Random stuff (11/2/2019 edition)

Just thought I’d share with you a few photos I had already shared on social media but also want to share to you, dear blog readers.  And I must emphasize, what you’re about to see is indeed from this past week.10-31-2019 713-30amYes, nice and quaint, now isn’t it?  But it’s just a storage shed covered in snow.  That’s right, snow.  At the end of October.  You want more?  By all means, take it… because we had to drive through it.10-31-2019 711-02amBoth of these images were from Thursday morning, when Madison and Southern Wisconsin was hit with a way-too-early snowstorm.  And believe it or not, it wasn’t the first bit of snowfall we saw this week, as a not-so-nasty storm hit late Monday evening.

All in all, Madison received a reported 8.1 inches of snow between the two storms.  It also left us scratching our collective heads and wondering, “It’s way too early for snow.”  I mean, more than a few trees around here still have yellow leaves on them (don’t let the lack of leaves on the above pictures tell you otherwise).  But if we’ve learned anything from previous winters in Wisconsin, it’s that Mother Nature can disrupt things any time she pleases.  Yeah, Mother Nature is one cold, evil, scheming, calculating, uncaring, unsympathetic witch!

But amidst the treachery of this early winter, I spotted a bit of levity.  No, it didn’t involve footage of people frolicking in the snow, but something even better:11-1-2019 746-27amDuring my drive to work on Friday, I came across this sign in front of a dry cleaning establishment.  The intended message of the sign, of course, is to encourage people to bring their not-so-clean suits, gowns, etc. here and they’ll put them back into good use.  But to put it more succinctly, if you look good, you feel good.  In other words… look snappy, feel happy.

I got a kick out of the positive attitude of this sign’s message.  When you think of it, its words are also timely, as adverse weather, not unlike what we’ve seen this week, can prompt even the most hearty of crossdessers to stay inside.  But don’t be afraid to dress to the nines in your best outfit.  It doesn’t matter what season it is, whether you must bundle up first, or if your catwalk or red carpet is within the confines of your home.  Do so, and you’ll give Old Man Winter the fierce brushback [*insert diva finger snaps in a circle*] he clearly has coming to him.


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Speak truth and look awesome

It’s Labor Day weekend, meaning it’s time to start considering autumnal-appropriate clothing.  Still, it’s always a good time to think about clothing normally well suited for the warmer months that (bummer) are about to leave us.

Earlier this year, I saw this photo on the New York & Company website.7th-avenue-black-floral-skirt-top

First off, this is not a dress.  No, really, the top and skirt, both of which come from NY & Co’s 7th Avenue line, match each other so perfectly.  The wrap skirt is pleated fully and sits banded at the waist with a self-tie belt.  The black background on both it and the top allows the floral patterns to really pop.

But if you pay attention, you’ll notice that emblazoned across the top is a message of certain import:  “Speak Truth.”  A great thing to think about at this time in our history, really.  Speak truth about the person who you are.  Speak truth about the world around you.  Speak truth about how the people around you should care for others and our planet.  Speak truth and show the world you’re not afraid to state your mind and take a stand for what you believe in.

Not to sound as if I”m bragging (I’m not), but I could see myself pairing these with sandy-colored hair and my best patent leather purse and run errands, do shopping, or just walk through the park on a beautiful and warm day (yes, such days will return).  And when doing so, I’ll be making a statement — in more ways than one.


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Random personal thoughts (8/18/2019 edition)

I have just enough time this Sunday morning to let you in on a couple of personal matters.  First off, I’ve put in a feeler on a potential new employment opportunity.  It’s through a different staffing agency than the one where I found my current assignment.  It’s also a temp-to-hire role.  But it also appears to be an indefinite, long-term role.  And it’s also in an industry where I spent a significant portion of my early professional life, meaning I need to move some of the industry’s terminology from the back to the front of my memory if I get this role.

But at the very least, if nothing pans out there or anyplace else, I do have my current assignment to fall back on.  As much as I’m not happy there and have struggled sometimes, the managers I work under seem to be pleased with my work.  Well, at least pleased enough to indicate they’d like to keep me on past September 1 and work some special projects.  While that’s nice, and I’m grateful, I’m not sure if it will be a full-time role.  And let’s just say that it’s not easy having just part-time employment while living in a city as expensive as Madison.

This afternoon, at least, I get to put all those work worries aside and get dressed up.  And for good reason, as today is Madison’s LGBT+ celebration, OutReach Magic Festival.  As I noted back in the spring, city regulations, logistics, and lingering resentment from last year prompted event organizers to eschew from having a parade downtown up State Street, and instead have a picnic/festival event at Warner Park on the northeast side of town.  The setup is meant to help bring the various groups within the pride acronym together, something our community needs right now and will hopefully benefit from.  The bad news, however, is that somebody has been praying for rain.  As I write this, there’s a loud storm moving through town, and a chance of rain exists late during the event.  Ugh!

Hopefully, everyone will stay dry at Magic Festival.  Myself especially, as I will be lugging around a fancy camera while dodging raindrops.  See, yours truly will be volunteering as Allison at the event.  Little Ol’ Do-Gooder Me wanted to help out in any way.  Despite my signing up relatively late (I did so after a volunteer orientation), spots were still available, and I added my femme name to the list as an event photographer.  I’m planning to arrive early enough to not only drink in the event and get a lay of the land, but also to get the ground rules on photographing the event, one of which I’ve learned about already — get consent before taking someone’s picture.  It will be a great thrill to not only lend a hand to what will hopefully be a great event, but to also help document it for posterity.


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One month after that

While tumbling through the internet rabbit hole to write up my last post, I came across this photograph:

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The photo, rainbow border and all, was posted on the Student Life section of New York University’s website.  The photo was taken by the late Fred McDarrah, who was a writer and also a longtime photographer for The Village Voice.  Among his many assignments was the photographing of the Stonewall Riots, their immediate aftermath, and many LGBT-related marches and celebrations after that.

The date of this particular photo is significant:  Sunday, July 27, 1969.  Yes, 50 years ago yesterday.  Many people may think that all there was of the Stonewall uprising was what happened in June of 1969, followed by a quiet period and the first organized pride march one year later in 1970.  Even worse, many think that the LGBT+ rights movement was only the product of later (i.e. much more recent) generations.

But that line of thinking is incorrect, really.  There was a more quieter LGBT movement before Stonewall.  It’s just that those hot nights in late June 50 years ago were the propellant that took the movement further.  And sure enough, Stonewall led to other protests and rallies in New York immediately afterward, including one exactly one month after the riots, in which a “Gay Power” march culminated in a rally at Washington Square Park.

Admittedly, I don’t know every single detail about the LGBT+ movement.  I’m sure a great many not just outside but also within our community will say the same thing.  But it’s a great feeling to learn about a small moment or a minor contributor that would help ensure the freedoms we enjoy and inspire the open lives we live today.

Here’s hoping you experience that same “gee whiz” feeling when you peruse though our community’s vast and proud history.


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Very perceptive

I wanted to share in this quick post realization that dawned upon me late today at work.  As I mentioned in this post from early last week, management at the organization to which I’m currently assigned has set forth on a departmental realignment.  This is affecting me in a big way, in that I’m in the process of shedding a couple of important duties, including one that… well, let’s just say it affects our organization in a significant way.

As a natural part of this reorganization, I’m in the process of training the person who will take responsibility for the duties I’m shedding.  We’re right now in the early stages of training, and naturally, this person has been asking lots of questions, including those I’m stumped on and don’t know the answer.

To be clear, asking questions, be they few or many or large or small, is a very good sign for any new employee.  It means that they’re trying to absorb the ins and outs of the role, as well as the whys and what fors.

But with those questions, they’re also finding out something else:  What kind of situation are they getting themselves into?  This was made to clear to me when, late in the day today, I sat down with the person I’m training after I had caught myself up on a couple of e-mails.  She had a talk with our manager concerning a report I’ve been trying to catch myself up on and that she started helping out on.  And it’s a big report, too, both in size and in importance.  How important, you ask?  Let’s just say it’s a rundown of some of the stuff I’ve missed doing because I’ve been caring for my other tasks.

When I rejoined my new colleague, she made a very astute observation to me:  I’ve been in over my head.  Oh, and I landed in a rather bad situation when I joined this organization 9 months ago.

And you know what?  She was absolutely right in her observation.  In my time there, I’ve been trying to put out one fire after another.  And in the past couple of months, circumstances beyond my control let that fire grow into a five-alarm inferno.

But the good news is that she seems to understand the situation.  And while she admits she may not be able to solve every problem that’s resulted from all this missed work, she will try her darndest to care for it.

But this afternoon, at least, she revealed a very important trait that every good employee should have:  The trait of being very, very perceptive.


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Good (to be away from work) Friday

The day I write this is Good Friday.  I won’t get into the religious aspects of this day in this space, but I will say that one good thing for me about this particular Good Friday is that I have the day off from my work assignment.  The office I’m working at is closed all day and everyone is enjoying the three-day weekend.  And after the past three weeks, a three-day weekend is coming at the right time.  Thanks to an abrupt staffing change, manpower has been short-handed (again), meaning a lot has been plopped both on my plate and that of my colleague.  That we both work under a demanding manager who has a stern, unpleasant demeanor and wants immediate results, or as timely results as possible, doesn’t make things any more enjoyable.

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