Allison M.

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


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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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My stepfather’s health scare

I want to devote this post to an emergency my family had to go through the past few days.  Last Saturday, just as I was coincidentally adding my last post to this blog, I received a voice mail message from the eldest of my two sisters.  Our stepfather was rushed to a hospital in Ohio with what was determined to be a stroke.

A small bit of background first:  My stepfather, who is in his mid-70s, has been an over-the-road truck driver in one form or another for most of his life.  It could be logs, food, corrugated cardboard:  You name it, Dad more than likely hauled it from coast to coast or border to border.  In recent years, Dad has done less of the 18-wheeler thing and more of small transport tasks, including what he had finished last Friday, transporting a large boat for winter storage.

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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 Jukebox: “Diamonds and Pearls”

While I’m spending part of my Saturday morning bathing in the euphoria from and thinking up a post documenting my poetry performance Friday night (an awesome evening all around), I want to make a quick addition to “Allison’s Jukebox.”  Have a listen to “Diamonds and Pearls,” the 1991 hit by Prince and The New Power Generation.

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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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Allison’s enjoys a wedding but stays the wallflower

Before I let it drift back into the farthest reaches of my memory, I should tell you about a little get-together I had with my family at the end of September.  And not just any run-of-the-mill get-together, mind you.  Yeah, as if you couldn’t tell from the title of this post, it was the occasion of my little sister’s wedding.  Little Sis and her fiance, after being boyfriend and girlfriend for several years, then becoming an engaged couple, and eventually buying a house together (and, wow, what a house), formally tied the knot in a ceremony three weeks ago this weekend.

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From Point Then to Point Now

Just a brief post to contemplate something important for me:  This entire month of September has been and will be quite a busy one, both in my professional and familial matters.  So it was only this week that I reflected on a very important step in my life:  Fifteen years ago on Labor Day weekend, I made the big move from Green Bay to the Madison area.  And 15 years ago this week, I joined my place of employment.

During this busy schedule of mine, and that of my supervisor who is based in another office away from Madison, we took the time to commemorate my 15-year work anniversary this week.  It was a very modest celebration, really:  Just me (since I’m the only one on my team actually working in Madison); my current supervisor, who made a quick midday drive up to Madison (and brought balloons!); and, as my personally chosen guest, the person who was my first supervisor 15 years ago and who I remain close with professionally, all enjoying lunch and conversation at the Panera Bread next door from my office.

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#TBT: Parachute pants, a stepbrother, and a duffel bag

Before I go any further, a couple of things:  First, this is a story I originally posted on a previous journal site, and I wanted to tell it again here with a few embellishments.  Also, this may seem to you that I’ll be going off in multiple directions in this post, but they all tie in to this story.  Anyway here goes:

As I’ve hinted/mentioned/downright owned up to on here, I am indeed a child of the 1980s.  And if you recall the 1980s, that decade had a number of clothing styles to remember.  Leather outfits were one such style; in my opinion, leather skirts are an ubiquitous classic that, when tastefully styled, will never go out of style.

But, let’s admit it, the ’80s also produced several fashion styles that did not withstand the test of time, among them:

  • Leg warmers (“Just coming back from dance class, I see?”)
  • Noticeably wide shoulder pads (“So, you trying out for the football team in those?”)
  • Members Only jackets (something I didn’t see a lot of in my small town; it must’ve been a big city-only thing).

Times have changed for sure (oh, sorry, “like, fer SURRE!”), and you’ll likely find these old outfits in a vintage/retro shop.  If you’re like me and you come across them, you’ll think one of three things:

  • “This is still a classic”
  • “Oh, boy, this look did not age well”
  • “I think I may snap this up for some real or imagined retro dress-up party I may or may not attend at an indeterminate time in the future.”

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Allison adds MORE COWBELL to Pride Weekend

Last weekend, I finally had the opportunity — and more importantly, the courage — to do what I had long hoped to do:  March as Allison in a LGBT pride parade.

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Sunday was the day of the OutReach Pride Parade & Rally (the above logo is from the event website).  As you may recall my telling you in this post about last year’s parade, the event has been put on since 2014 by OutReach, which is the LGBT community resource and support center here in Madison.  As it has since 2015, the parade and rally was held downtown, with the parade going up State Street and circling Capitol Square before ending at a rally point where State Street meets the square.  The OutReach Pride Parade & Rally has grown each year since its establishment.  In fact, this year organizers had to cut off the number of registered parade entrants at 77, needing to do so since there was just no room for more.

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A big pride weekend

Happy weekend, peoples!  I’m writing this post on a “tape-delay” Friday evening; hopefully, if the WordPress settings are accurate, this will be delivered to you first thing Saturday morning.  Why am I writing this on Friday night and posting it on Saturday morning?  Well, I’m going to be very busy not just Saturday morning but all weekend; I’ll talk my to-do list in a moment.

First, though, I want to tell you about a celebration occurring southeast of Madison, in a place called Walworth County.  It’s just over 102,000 in population; it’s mostly though not entirely rural; it’s generally conservative in culture; and it’s home to the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, the Alpine Valley resort and music theater, and the vacation spot Lake Geneva.  And on Saturday, it will hold its first ever LGBT “pride fair,” conducted from 10AM to 3PM on the Chamber of Commerce grounds in the county seat of Elkhorn.

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