Allison M.

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


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Random stuff (post-VS edition)

I haven’t been on here the past several days, what with trying to earn a living and fighting an achy cold since Thursday.  But I’m back to share some lingering stuff related to my last post about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and more importantly comments by Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, expressing that the show has no place for “transsexuals” (his term) or plus-size models on the catwalk (“because the show is a fantasy,” he reasoned).

Well, any hope that Victoria’s Secret and ABC would generate great ratings for the 2018 edition of the fashion show turned out to be a bigger fantasy.  Last Sunday’s (December 2) airing of the event registered an all-time low viewership number.  And that’s coming off previous all-time lows for viewership in both 2017 and 2016, the last two years the event aired on CBS.

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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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Transgender Day of Remembrance 2018

This day (November 20) is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.  This is the annual day meant to memorialize those in the trans and gender-nonconforming community who have lost their lives to brutal anti-trans violence.  It comes at the end of Transgender Awareness Week, which helps bring awareness of trans/GNC people and the issues they face on a daily basis.  It’s appropriate that TDoR ends Trans Awareness Week, in that while our community has come far and still must go far to gain respect of our living our true selves, the day reminds us all that our community is still in danger because… well, we dare to live our true selves.

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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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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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Allison carries the banner at the Pride Parade

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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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Allison enjoys “Queer Shorts: Unity”

So, peoples, what did you do Friday evening?  I went to the theater.

Yeah, Male Mode Me took in a show Friday night.  And, yeah, I was tempted to get all dolled up as Allison, but a tight time frame after the end of my work day prevented that.  Still, I wanted to take in a show and support queer-oriented theater.

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Image credit here

Friday was the second-to-last staging of “Queer Shorts: Unity.”  Every year since 2006, Stage Q, the Madison-based LGBT-oriented theater company, has presented a showcase of short plays, usually 5 to 10 minutes in length and culled from a nationwide call for submissions, that showcase LGBT themes, characters, performers, and writers. Continue reading


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A poem: “Warmer”

The problems I encountered last winter with the heat in my apartment, which I recounted in this post, inspired me to write the following poem.  Enjoy!

“Warmth”

It’s getting hot in here
But I didn’t turn up the thermostat
Oh, I see why it is:
Smoothed-out legs
Fancy blouse
Lovely skirt
Awesome hair and makeup
A great look at myself in the mirror
I never realized how hot I can be
Or make this room feel like a summer beach

It’s suddenly cold around me
But there’s no thermostat
Oh, I see why it is:
Leering glances
Icy stares
Prejudice
Intolerance
Narrow-mindedness
Misogny and bigotry
From those who disdain me
And who don’t want me to show my face
I never realized how, with such a haunting pace
Hate can make the world a more chilly place

But it’s warming up again
Not a heat wave, far from it
For it’s much more comfortable than that
And I can see why it is:
A pat on the shoulder
A hug or two
Words of “Welcome”
And “I support you”
And “I accept you…
“for the beautiful person you are”
From people who are just like me
And others who support me
And the community in which I’m proud to be
I’m glad I can see
Well, to be reminded of it really
How a little friendship can go a long way
Toward making it a better day
There’s still hate’s winter around the corner
But I’m glad I now feel much warmer


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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!