january 2014 issue
Pretty T Girls
The Magazine for the most beautiful girls in the world
A publication of Pretty T Girls Yahoo group
Pretty T Girls
The Magazine for the most beautiful girls in the world
A publication of Pretty T Girls Yahoo group
Pretty T Girls
The Magazine for the most beautiful girls in the world
A publication of Pretty T Girls Yahoo group
In This Issue
Editorial by Barbara Jean
Some Surprising Pulsating Beauty Tools
3 Quick Tips to Upgrade Your Weekend Beauty Routine
The Beauty Fixes That Will Change Your Life
The Exploits of Barbara Marie
Biological Underpinnings of Transvestism
and Other Gender Disorders
To Be or Not to Be
The Adventures of Judy Sometimes
Angels In The Centerfold
Tips from Mellissa
Love Your Profile Pic with These Tips & Tricks
Model Secrets: How To Look Great In Every Photo
Is There a Belt that Flatters a Large Mid-Section
Tasi’s Fashion News
5 Chic Winter Outfits
Avoiding Common Wardrobe Blunders
Why Everyday is a No Pants Day
The Gossip Fence
Shop Till You Drop
The Schoolyard Bully
An Editorial by Barbara Jean
Most of us are familiar with the schoolyard bully, the one who would pick on someone because
they were different. Pick on them for being small, or pick on them because they stuttered,
picked on them for acting different. The bully usually wanted to show himself off as a tough
kid by beating the person he decided to pick on, calling him/her names, making jokes about the
subject of his bullying and other things to try and not only make life miserable for the kid he
was bulling but try and get others to also bully his subject. Beatings, stealing lunch money or
lunch, name calling, bad jokes and other forms of bullying, but in years past it was reserved to
the school or the neighborhood.
Now one of the things we will notice here is that the bully often is a kid bigger than the kid he
would pick on. Let’s face it he is not going to bully someone that is bigger than him and it is
harder when they are the same size, gee that kid could wind up fighting back! But the little guy,
what can he do about that big kid picking on him?
At this point I am sort of reminded of the old magazine ads for the Charles Atlas course where
they showed that big guy kicking sand in the face of the little guy. Of course Charles Atlas
tried to say that if you followed his course you would be big and strong and would be able to go
after the bully. But how long will you have to allow that bully to kick sand in your face before
you are big enough and strong enough to fight back?
Our young transgender brothers and sisters, those who are in elementary, middle and high
school are the ones being bullied, but it is not by other kids in their school, but rather by adults.
Churches that preach their hate from the pulpit, political organization, that create false stories,
and news networks that broadcast these false stories.
A false story was created by Pacific Justice Institute of a male to female transgender student
harassing the female students in the girls bathroom, a story that the school after investigating
said never happened, a story that most networks retracted, but was not retracted by Fox News or
the Christian Broadcasting Network. When California passed the safe student act, (AB1266)
that allowed a student to play on the sports team appropriate to his/her gender and not his/her
biological sex, to use the bathroom appropriate to his/her gender and not that of their biological
sex, to use showers and locker rooms appropriate to their gender the bully started a petition
drive to get voters to overturn that bill.
As I write this while more than enough signatures were turned in for the repeal to make it on the
ballot, too few have been verifiable and thus the repeal measure may well not make it on the
ballot, too few have been verifiable and thus the repeal measure may well not make it on the
Were there any kids complaining? No, it was only the parents who listened to the false stories,
created by the big bully. They listened and believed, and then went on to become bullies themselves. And what can the transgender in school do about the bully here? No the bully has his
way because he knows that the kids cannot vote, they will have no say in anything. An easy
target to pick on, one where it would be years before this kid could even have the squeakiest of
Maybe it is time that parents stop listening to reports and listen to what the kids themselves
have to say. And for us, well it just means that we must work all the harder at educating the
general public about the transgender.
Good Vibrations...Some Surprisingly Pulsating Beauty
The concept seems strange — a vibrating beauty product (jokes anyone?) — but the results are
awesome: longer fuller lashes, flawless complexion and thicker hair. Vibrating beauty products
are a huge growing trend for a reason but it does beg the question: How can such a simple,
fast-moving, jiggling version of your average beauty product produce such incredible results?
A little history lesson. The first mainstream whirring beauty product was the Sonicare
toothbrush, whose cleansing statistics were so impressive that beauty companies had no choice
but to take notice. The next to debut was the Clarisonic face brush, which none other that
Gwyneth Paltrow declared as life changing.
Lancome followed suit and introduced its oscillating (which is
the fancy way of saying vibrating) mascara in 2008 and the
race has been on ever since! Now, the payoff for customers
who use these products isn’t just the physical upsides—who
doesn’t love a massage—but the professional-level cosmetic
benefits. All that blending and brushing and whisking a
makeup artist does are pretty much replicated with these whirring machines. — Charlotte Rudge, Shine Staff
Lancome Oscillation Powerfoundation
By using a vibrating powder puff, mineral makeup is
deposited onto the skin, instantly massaging in the foundation,
resulting in a more seamless, uniform finish. Plus, it feels fantastic on the face, like a
mini spa treatment.
Body Buffer Kit
Crazy, or crazy-awesome? This is NOT cheap, it
rings in just under $400, but if you want smooth,
polished to perfection skin, start saving now for this
guy. It works by gently exfoliating and sloughing off
dead skin cells, increasing circulation, soothing
muscles and all sorts of good things. as you stroke it
Maybelline Pulse Perfection Vibrating Mascara
The rapid jiggle of the brush coats lashes top-to-bottom and
side-to-side (as opposed to just from the bottom when you apply
it yourself using conventional mascaras). The result of the
vibration feature is pretty spectacular—lashes look a mile long.
Pop Buzzing Beauty Buffer
Makeup artists have long touted blending AND using
makeup sponges as the key to seamless foundation
application and perfect looking skin. This little gadget
does both at the same time, buffing powder, liquid and
solid foundations directly into the face.
Neutrogena Wave Original Vibrating Power Cleanser
Apply cleanser and lather on face using this hand-held
device. This gadget literally shakes the dirt right out of
those pores. Deep embedded grime gets dislodged, even
though the vibration is subtle and soothing— not like a
facial extraction—and the results are super effective.
You know how experts are always advising you to tap on your eye
cream? That’s because the actual tapping helps skin absorb the
cream. This tool does the same for you, but times a billion. Its sonic
quivering motion works out to be 125 “taps” per second, meaning
eye products really get absorbed, plus it’s like a lymphatic draining,
de-puffing mini massage to help with bags.
Brocato Vibrastraight Oscillating Flat Iron
This one was quite a surprise—vibrating hair straightener? But it
turns out that the motion helps to prevent creases and kinks—a
common side effect with hair straighteners—and give hair a
smoother, more natural finish. Who knew?
Body Essentials Light and Massage Therapy Hairbrush
No ordinary hairbrush, this one. At the press of a
button, it shimmies and shakes, which actually helps to
detangle hair. But the best part is that the sensation
feels amazing on the scalp, which along with the
built-in LED lights works to stimulate hair growth.
Gillette Venus Vibrance
This one’s fantastic. The batteryoperated device is used just like a classic
razor. But at the push of a button, it
emits tiny vibrations, which give a
closer, smoother, more even shave.
Since it spawned in 2008, a bunch of
imitators have followed the trend.
A little out there, for sure, but this device works kind
of like that old supermodel trick of brushing your
lips quickly with a toothbrush and lip balm to make
them look fuller (the same way your lips look puffy
after a night of kissing). This gadget shimmies lips
to life, making them look bigger and fuller without
the painful (and sometimes bloody) side effects of
3 Quick Tips to Upgrade Your Weekend Beauty Routine
by Jessica Hagy
We know how it works: Friday afternoon rolls around and it’s basically impossible to do anything but watch the clock tick sluggishly while images of weekend freedom dance though your
mind. If you’re like us, you also spend a hefty amount of time considering the beauty looks
you’ll be donning in your downtime. Goodbye hurried, essentials-only morning makeup routine, hello evening-long-sipping-wine-as-we-go primping sessions. Since the best beauty exploration happens when you have those precious extra moments, here are three easy beauty upgrades to try out this weekend.
1. Up Your Lash Game
Repeat after us: fake eyelashes are my friend. If you’ve never been comfortable rocking the
faux lash believe us when we say it’s much easier than it looks, and the added length and volume make a huge difference. Lush lashes look fabulous with any beauty look, from subtle to
full-on glamorous, and they have this uncanny ability to make us feel instantly sexy and confident. Check out this post for a complete guide to applying fake lashes like a pro.
2. Swap Your Liner
We love experimenting with different colors in our time off, and the easiest way to incorporate
a new hue into your eye makeup is colored eyeliner. From subtle navy to eye-catching glitter to
a deep green cat eye liner, there are plenty of options to cater to any adventure level. If you’re
going for a bold color, remember to keep the rest of your look subtle so you don’t look overlydone.
MDC Product Picks: Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner; Lancôme Liner Design in
Indigo Darling; Maybelline MasterSmoky Longwearing Shadow-Pencil in Emerald Fury
3. Go Outside Your Lipstick Comfort Zone
We’re not ashamed to admit that we’ve been labeled “Lipstick Junkies” in the past, so trying a
new lip color on the weekends is naturally a must. We wouldn’t even judge you if you planned
your whole outfit around a lipstick… we’ve done it (obviously). This fall our lipstick-loving
hearts are overwhelmed with colors to obsess over—burgundy, plum and scorching red to name
a few. Pair your bold lip with strong brows and neutral eye makeup for a chic, modern look.
The Beauty Fixes that Will Change Your Life
Every so often a friend recommends some little tip or product that, in
one swoop, clears up your skin or finally makes sense of your hair.
We've collected 15 of the best beauty and makeup tricks, from people
who really know what they're talking about. Problems, meet your
solutions. By Gina Way, REDBOOK.
"I embraced my natural curls-a mix of coarse waves and tighter ringlets-20 years ago, but
couldn't figure out how to keep them frizz-free. Then I found that blotting my wet hair with a Tshirt instead of a towel all but eliminates fuzz, because it doesn't create friction. Now I don't let
any towel touch my hair." -TIPPI SHORTER, Aveda global artistic director for textured hair
and hairstylist who works with Jennifer Hudson
"Contouring the eyes with light and dark shadows makes such a huge difference. I apply a pale
shade on the lid, taupe in the crease, and use the darkest color as eyeliner. This helps the eyelid
seem bigger, reduces the appearance of puffiness, and just makes your eyes appear younger.
And it works on everyone. Try Lancôme Color Design Eye Brightening All-in-One 5 Shadow
& Liner Palette in Peach Opulence ($49)." -SANDY LINTER, Lancôme makeup artist who
works with Elizabeth Hurley
"It's hard to fill in your brows evenly, so I discovered that to get the best perspective, take a
selfie on your phone. You'll see exactly where you need to use more pencil or powder. Try this
and I promise you'll never have uneven brows again." -REBECCA RESTREPO, Elizabeth
Arden global makeup artist who works with Alicia Keys
"I created a great method for making eyes look bigger and wide awake: I curl my lashes, then
carefully dust loose face powder on them, which gives the hairs more texture and volume. Then
I apply mascara, wait 10 minutes for it to dry, and curl them again to really maximize the eyeopening effect. It's magic!" -BRIGITTE REISS-ANDERSEN, makeup artist who works with
"The Beautyblender sponge ($19.95) has changed the way my makeup looks. When it came on
the market, I thought it was a gimmick, but its shape allows you to squish and mold it to get
your foundation into every crevice of your face-something you can't do with a regular makeup
sponge or brush. The texture makes any formula go on smooth and seamless, and you can use it
for cream blush, too." -MELANIE INGLESSIS, makeup artist who works with Olivia Wilde
and Kate Hudson
"I started taking fish oil every morning-I have a teaspoon of the liquid, but it also comes in
capsule form-and noticed that my dry lizard skin became amazingly soft. The omega-3 fatty
acids in fish oil are proven to help relieve dryness, itching, and inflammation." -JESSICA WU,
M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at USC School of Medicine
"I always have a facial mist with me-usually it's Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($18 for 1 oz). I use it
on my clients to set their makeup, and it keeps their skin fresh and dewy all day long. It works
so well, I pull it out constantly to spritz my own skin." -MYLAH MORALES, makeup artist
who works with Rihanna and Jordin Sparks
"I figured out that I can skip foundation and my skin looks great if I exfoliate a few times a
week. I do a two-step process. Before bed, I apply a glycolic-acid serum to reduce fine lines.
Then, the next morning, I massage my face with a gommage, a cream that gently dissolves dead
skin using enzymes-I like Arcona Cranberry Gommage ($44)." -CHANEL JENAE, co-owner
of Arcona Studio spa in Santa Monica, CA
"I massage my scalp regularly by rubbing it all over with a natural-bristle brush. A ton of my
hair fell out after my son was born-which is common-and this really helped it get thick again.
People are afraid to rub their scalp because they don't want more hair to fall out. Big mistake!
Massage boosts blood flow to the hair follicles, which encourages growth." -MARIE ROBINSON, owner of the Marie Robinson Salon in New York City and colorist to Emma Stone and
"Adding a bright blush to my makeup routine perked up my entire complexion. As you age, you
lose blood vessels in your face, so less oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to the skinwhich can make you look sallow. So while it's important to focus on good skin care, I find that
a vibrant pink or coral blush, like Pink Swoon by MAC ($21), is the easiest way to get instant
radiance." -RENÉE ROULEAU, founder of Renée Rouleau skin care and spas and aesthetician
whose clients include Anna Faris and Demi Lovato
The Exploits of Barbara Marie
THINGS OCCURRING AS THE OLD YEAR, 2013,
WANES BEFORE 2014 IS USHERED IN
BY: BARBARA MARIE
Barbara Marie Davidson
As I have mentioned in the past, outreach helps folks to
understand the TG community and “I do” believe in outreach. Last Month in November, Several members of
Sigma Epsilon (the Atlanta Chapter of Tri Ess) of which I
am also a member of, joined me in Statesboro for two
classes which took place during the first week of the
month. They were Psychology students taking a class in
Human Sexuality being taught on two separate days by
two different professors. The first on was on Wednesday
afternoon and the other one was on Thursday
afternoon. It is interesting that this was only the second
time that one of the members of the group had given a
presentation to students. The first time was at a college in
South Carolina where her daughter also teaches
Psychology. After some debating, her daughter introduced
her, as “this is my Dad”. It is my understanding that the
class went well there in South Carolina, as did the classes
here. It is interesting to note that after one of my recent
Alanon meetings, one of the newcomers came up to me and told me how much she enjoyed the
class that several of us had given a year ago to the Psychology class she was in. She was getting
her husband out of the treatment center here in Statesboro and this was her first Alanon
meeting. (FYI, Alanon is for families of Alcoholics and drug addicts.)
Fast forward, and Thanksgiving was upon “us”. Thanksgiving Morning, I got up and made
communion bread (6 loaves) for the Church, which was then followed by another 6 loaves for a
total of 12. This was then followed by a pan of Baklava, which is a Greek syrup pastry that is
“Low Cal”. Actually it is any thing but. It will ruin your “girlish figure” in no time especially
during this holiday period when every thing one eats is “Low Cal”. I have been making Baklava
every Holiday period since 1982 when I learned to make it. I use the recipe from the Greek
cookbook published by the Greek Orthodox Church in Charleston S.C. The most I ever made
was 17 pans in 2 months about 3 or 4 years ago. Later in the afternoon, I cleaned up every
thing including my self and got ready to go to my son’s and his wife’s home for Thanksgiving.
I have gotten to the point it takes me about 20 - 25 minutes to put my face on these days, as
“practice makes perfect”. I lay my clothes out before I start getting dress so that I am not
standing in the closet saying “Should I or Should I Not” wear this or that.
Thus about 1730, I was walking out the door wearing a pair of Worthington slacks and a
Worthington top with black low-heeled pumps headed to their house. I also had with me two
pans of baklava, one for my son and his wife and one for her parents. My son had made a
Turduckin for Thanksgiving. In fact he had made two, one for her parents to have and the other
one was for us. My son ate two Thanksgiving Dinners, one with her family at noon and one in
the evening with just us. Her parents, especially her mom has not tried in any way shape or
form to accept me though she has never met me. I have met her dad informally on at least two
occasions at a sub shop near the nail salon. For you uninformed folks, a Turduckin is a
deboned chicken inside a deboned duck inside a deboned turkey breast, which have been brined
and then covered with herbs and spices prior to being rolled together. The whole thing is tied
with kitchen string and baked for 2 ½ to three hours. It was served with rice and gravy, a green
bean casserole, fruit salad and of course lots of cranberry sauce, followed by a home made
chocolate cream pie! My son was also celebration 6 years of being sober thus I had a “little
toddy” before going to their house for dinner.
After Thanksgiving begins the Christmas festivities with parties galore at every turn. My first
one was my Lions Club annual Christmas dinner. I wore a red top with Christmas presents on
the front and a Christmas sweater vest. With black slacks and loafers. It would not have been
appropriate for a guy to even be caught dead in the Christmas outfits that women can wear
(shades of “isn’t it great to be a woman”) My next party was the annual Christmas Party of the
Chatham Artillery Association. I wore a long red suede skirt with a black top, silver jewelry,
and black low heel pumps. (at my age that is about all my ankles can handle these days. Far cry
from the 2 – 3 inches of yore.) (Yes, it is harder as you get older to do the things you did when
you were younger.). and of course my Chatham association Pin. I sat with a very nice older
couple that I have set with before in the past. They have been very accepting of me. Also with
us were some friends from Statesboro whose deceased husband had been a member of the
Chatham Artillery for well over 40 years.
December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day, which as we all know is the beginning of the US
involvement in WWII. It is also the birthday of the oldest son of the manager of the nail shop.
Rather that celebrate his birthday on the 7th, it was celebrated on the 8th as the shop closes at 5
pm on Sunday. The food they had was fit for a “king” but in my case, I will say “fit for a
Queen”. There was a whole roasted pig (crackling skin still in place.) rice noodles with green
onions, a salad with shrimp and beef tripe with greens (shredded cabbage, lettuce, carrots onion,
peppers) and a fish sauce with crushed garlic, red peppers and a little sugar. There were also
Vietnamese “doughnuts” or fried dumplings covered with a honey, sesame seeds and sugar
glaze as well a chocolate Birthday cake. Dinner, as a whole, is/was really low cal, but the
doughnuts and cake were any thing but. Dress for the day was jeans and a gray and black
sweater and sandals.
Friday the 13th found me leaving the house in a ankle length black skirt with a red Christmas
top and a black Christmas vest with black low heels as I was headed to Savannah for my
Nursing school alumni Christmas party. It was being given by the hospital that graduated
classes from 1902 until 1968. I graduated in 1967 and there were 15 in my class. I was 24
years old at that time and also when I got married. There were several from the class of 1968
who are in their mid late 60’s. I am 70 now and was the only one from my class. The first male
to graduate was in the class of 1966 and he passed away
several years ago. There were 2 (including myself) in my
class. The other one is not in good health. Dinner was
toss salad, scalloped potatoes, choice of chicken or beef
and green beans with red velvet cake. Had a great time but
was back home by 330.
Saturday, I was up at 530 am. By 630 was getting ready to
leave the house be 0730 to head to Charleston, SC for a
Navy Nurse Corps Christmas Party. It took me a little
over 25 minutes to put my face on. By 0720 I was ready
to leave the house. I was wearing black slacks with the
sane top that I had worn the day before.. It was a 170
mile drive or 2 hours 45 minutes one way from Statesboro
to the Isle of Palms, S.C. I got 25.6 miles to the gallon in my car (2013 Ford Edge). Every one
there were retired Navy Nurses including yours truly (1969 to 1989). My contributions to the
dinner were 2 loaves of Garlic Bread, and a gift card from
Starbucks for the Dirty Santa after the meal. The meal was prime
rib, potato salad, green beans, salad, and fresh fruit with cake,
cookies or Chocolate for dissert.. It was interesting that the 20
years I was on active duty, I never met another Nurse whose last
name was Davidson. At the party there was another Davidson
(CDR`) and his wife. However we are not related as his family
came from Aberdeen Scotland and mine came from Ayreshire.. I
was home by 1730 and still had 173 miles to go according to the
car’s computer. I had gone 340 miles averaging 25.6 miles per
gal. (Things and places change over the years. The last time I
was on the “ten”-mile section of US HW 17 after crossing the
Cooper river bridge, that section was a two-lane road. The were a
number of places where the locals were seen sitting on the porch
of their “homes” weaving hand made straw baskets and hats for
sale. I saw none of that at all. It was all a four-lane highway with shopping plazas everywhere
one looked. All the “history of the SC low country” that I remember when traveling this area
was all gone.
There is nothing else planned except Christmas and New years in the near future. I want to
wish all of you all of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe Happy new year. May
the New Year bring you happiness and joy. Don’t eat too much “hopping John” for new Years.
That’s Black-eyed peas and rice for you non-southerners. It is suppose to bring you good luck.
Last time I ate Hopping John was in 1960. That year I lost both of my grandmothers and my
dad had all of his teeth extracted and a month later had kidney surgery. I don’t mind eating it
any other time of the year.
Barbara Marie Davidson
Biological Underpinnings of Transvestism
and Other Gender Disorders
This document was copied from another site and I'm attempting to link back to the author so
you have the source to ask questions of. I think it is well written and factually correct, but that
is all I can vouch for. - Suzi
How does a transvestite become a transvestite or a transsexual become a transsexual? How
does a gay man become gay for that matter? These disorders are all very different but may
share to some extent the same cause. There have been many theories regarding these disorders,
most of which have related to environmental factors during one's upbringing. For instance, one
old school of thought was that a man becomes a transvestite because he was humiliated as a boy
by being crossdressed. More recent evidence has suggested more biological causes,
however. In my opinion, a crossdresser's interest in women's clothing is every bit as
biologically determined as his interest in women. It is the interest itself that defines the
crossdresser, not the practice, as most men obviously would have no interest in wearing
women's clothing and would feel rather peculiar if crossdressed. The scientific community has
discovered much about how these interests develop. What follows is a very short and
somewhat simplistic discussion of some of their findings.
It's really no secret that all males have the genetic information required to make them either
male or female. It is during (normal) fetal development that either one set of blueprints or the
other is selected for our development. Of course many parts of our genetic code are common to
both blueprints, while other parts are specific to only one gender. It is those parts of our genetic
code that are activated, as appropriate, according to the presence or absence of a Y
chromosome. Let's examine briefly how this works.
When fetuses are first formed, they have _both_ male (Wolffian) and female (Mullerian) duct
systems and a single pair of undifferentiated gonads. At that stage, a male fetus differs from a
female fetus only by the presence of a Y chromosome. Among other things, the Y chromosome
has the genetic code for a peptide called Mullerian-inhibiting hormone (MIH). MIH is
manufactured by the male fetus (and never the female fetus) according to this code. This
hormone has three important functions: (1) It preserves the Wolffian duct system. (2) It causes
the Mullerian duct system to degenerate. And (3) it causes the gonads to differentiate into
testes. Without the presence of MIH, the Wolffian duct system would spontaneously
degenerate, the Mullerian duct system would continue developing, and the gonads would
differentiate into ovaries. For this reason, it is said that the "default sex" is female.
Once our gonads have differentiated into testes or ovaries, they produce either testosterone or
estrogen, respectively. Both of these hormones are steroids, which are a fat-soluble class of
hormones derived from cholesterol that readily pass through all barriers, including the placenta.
The remainder of the fetus differentiates into either a male or a female pattern (or both)
according to which steroids are present. As Dr. Prince pointed out in her article, the high levels
of estrogen produced by the mother readily cross into the fetal bloodstream. So why then don't
all fetuses develop into girls (apart from their ductwork)? In fact, it is not estrogen that
feminizes a fetus but testosterone that masculinizes it. Again, the default blueprint is that of a
girl. Once testosterone is present, the feminine blueprint is disregarded, and the male blueprint
is used. One peculiar problem remains, though. In order for testosterone to achieve its effects, it
has to be converted to estrogen after it enters each target cell. It is then the estrogen that binds
to receptors inside the cell and the estrogen/receptor complex that activates the genetic codes of
the male blueprint. This may seem quite strange, but it makes sense when one considers that
estrogen and testosterone are chemically very similar and are readily converted. Estrogen is
ultimately the hormone that achieves either masculinization or feminization of the body and
brain after birth, depending on the developmental events that occurred in utero (with the
exception of a few target organs that are feminized in both sexes by estrogen and not
testosterone -- e.g. the breasts).
If testosterone must be converted to estrogen to achieve its effects anyway, then why have two
different hormones? Why not use just estrogen? The answer has to do with the mother. Since
the mother's estrogen passes readily to the fetus, and since that estrogen can freely enter the
cells of the fetus, it would seem that the mother's estrogen would result in the male blueprint
being activated. Furthermore, it would seem that either testosterone or estrogen produced by the
fetus would achieve the same effect. In fact, nature has provided a cleaver mechanism for
dealing with this problem. Both male and female fetuses produce a substance in large quantity
called alpha-feto-protein (AFP). AFP circulates in the fetal bloodstream and binds up the
estrogen there, essentially neutralizing it. Thus, regardless of the gender of the fetus, and
irrespective of the mother's high circulating estrogen levels, the only sexual steroid that can
circulate freely in the fetal bloodstream is testosterone. Testosterone, therefore, is like estrogen
traveling in cognito.
Once it enters a target cell, it can shed its disguise (i.e. by being converted to estrogen) and do
its work. (Does this sound perhaps just a bit too much like crossdressing?) Once fetal
development is completed, all of the cells in the body have been made either male or female,
depending on the presence or absence of circulating testosterone. After birth, the need for this
apparently strange system is gone, as male fetuses no longer have to contend with circulating
estrogen. At that point, the child stops manufacturing AFP, and its body becomes responsive to
estrogen (converted from testosterone in the case of the male) in a manner consistent with its
How then can this system fail? One common failure occurred in the "bad old days" of obstetrics
when androgens (testosterone-like hormones) were given to some women to prevent
miscarriages and premature labor. These androgens were not bound up by AFP, readily entered
fetal cells, were converted to estrogen, and masculinized female fetuses. The primary result
wasn't so much the production of male genitalia. Remember that the basic pattern of ductwork
has nothing to do with sexual steroids. There was some degree of masculinization of the
external genitalia, resulting in an almost penis-like structure. The primary effect, however, was
upon the sexual orientation and gender identity of the girl. Most commonly, these girls were
quite "tom-boyish" and often were homosexual. A similar effect sometimes occurs when more
estrogen enters the female fetal bloodstream than can be bound up by AFP. The estrogen that
escapes binding then enters fetal cells and masculinizes them.
Failure of this system is less understood in the male fetus. In the most extreme case, a male
fetus (and child or adult) may have a gene defect that results in nonfunctional testosterone
receptors. This results in a condition called androgen insensitivity. Males with this disorder
have male ductwork and testes; however, their external genitalia are very poorly developed,
appearing little different from female genitalia, and their bodies develop essentially a feminine
form. These people mature to become essentially normal (but sterile) women. The same sort of
effect could occur, naturally, if for some reason testosterone were not produced by the fetus.
Thus, the amount of fetal testosterone activity determines whether the fetus develops
functionally into a boy or a girl. It is not hard then to recognize that the male fetus would be
incompletely or inadequately masculinized if testosterone activity were sufficiently suppressed
One possible cause for suppression of fetal testosterone activity could be maternal stress. When
a person is under stress his/her adrenal glands secrete high levels of another steroid called
corticosterone (or hydrocortisone). This hormone, being a steroid, readily crosses the placenta
and travels to the fetal brain, where it suppresses the release of the pituitary hormones FSH and
LH, resulting in turn in a reduction of testosterone production. The first demonstration of a
linkage between maternal stress and incomplete fetal masculinization came from a study
examining males born in NAZI Germany during the latter stages of World War II. Because of
the crumbling of the Third Reich and the intense bombing operations, mothers were under extreme stress throughout their pregnancies. The records reveal an extraordinarily high incidence
of male homosexuality in this population, compared with control populations, thus supporting
the maternal stress hypothesis.
Of course homosexuality is very different from transvestism, but I believe that both disorders
have a similar cause. I believe further that transsexualism is related to these two disorders. What
then determines the outcome of perturbation of one's hormonal environment in utero? I would
say that two factors are critical. First, obviously, is the magnitude of the perturbation. Different
brain and body systems may require different levels of testosterone in order to be masculinized,
and masculinization may not be an all-or-nothing phenomenon. Thus, different testosterone
levels may be associated with different magnitudes of masculinization and with different
combinations of masculine and feminine development throughout the brain and body. Perhaps
more critical is the timing of the testosterone suppression, as different systems develop and
sexually differentiate at different times throughout fetal development. Testosterone suppression
very early in pregnancy may result, for instance, in a failure to masculinize the hypothalamus,
which arguably could result in female-patterned sexual preference, hence homosexuality,
during adulthood. Testosterone insufficiency at later stages could result in failure to masculinize
numerous other brain systems, including perhaps the cerebral cortex very late in development.
As a result, the adult's cognitive patterns could be very feminine, although socialized artificially
into masculine patterns. This condition could underlie gender identity disorders such as transvestism and transsexuality.
Although the maternal stress hypothesis, to my knowledge, has not been applied to gender
identity disorders, I see no reason why it would not apply. Of course I am speculating in this
regard. Nevertheless, I have taken the opportunity to ask numerous (perhaps 50) transgendered
individuals about the possibility that their mothers had stressful pregnancies. The overwhelming
majority of those people, including myself, can identify specific events that unquestionably
would have caused their mothers great physical or psychological stress. Of course this was not a
scientific survey with proper controls and should not be regarded as such. This is certainly an
avenue of investigation that needs to be pursued.
Given that there are clear indications of physiological causes of gender identity disorders, why
should we care? We are the way we are, after all. The simple answer is that we must all live in
the "real" world, a small proportion of which is populated with bigots and other intolerant folks
who make our lives very difficult. Among other things, we have to deal with the legal system.
For instance, transgendered individuals often find themselves in the throws of hostile divorces
with child custody at issue. There is a very big difference legally between arguing that one
"chooses" to crossdress and that she "must" crossdress. If someone were to believe that a
parent's crossdressing is somehow harmful to her children, then her "choosing" to crossdress
would indicate that she put her own pleasure higher in importance than the well being of her
On the other hand, if the courts recognize that it is something she "must" do, that would lead
them to conclude she might not be such a bad parent after all. There are also civil rights
questions at stake. If crossdressing is something we "choose" to do simply because we enjoy it,
then should we have the right to do it when it offends someone else equally? I would of course
argue that we do, for reasons of freedom of expression; however, not everyone would agree
with me. On the other hand, it is absolutely, unquestionably unconstitutional for a
transgendered person to suffer discrimination if her gender disorder is not a "choice" but a
"birth defect" of sorts. Transsexuals face still other issues. As long as transsexuality is
considered by enough ill informed individuals to be a matter of choice, then there will never be
any guarantee of insurance coverage for HRT, electrolysis, and SRS. If transsexuality is a birth
defect, however, then it is clearly defensible that these interventions should be covered just like
any other birth defect.
Thus, irrespective of how we feel about ourselves and how we personally justify our
crossdressing or gender identity, our legal rights are clearly impacted by the question of
whether crossdressing a manifestation of a congenital biological disorder or whether it is no
more than an alternative lifestyle which a few narrow-minded people find offensive.
To Be or Not To Be…
By: Julie Walsh
You’ve been thinking about it for a long time. You know that your body is a lie to
everything you know and feel about yourself. The name that people call you makes
It’s time, you think, to finally do this. You reveal your identity to a few close friends and
family members. To your surprise, many are supportive! And so some of the people
around you start calling you Anthony instead of Anne. You begin introducing yourself
this way and using the restroom where you belonged in the first place.
But you begin filling out job applications and you’re not sure what to write. With no
legal backing yet, do you write Anne, even though you’re an Anthony? Do you select
the box for male or female? How will you navigate the conversation with the manager
who is filling out federal forms and insurance information? Will the manager offer
understanding and support or just laugh and show you the door?
It’s nice that people are addressing you by your new name and calling you sir, but it
feels a little strange. And the restroom? Wow! That’s a different culture! The confusion
and the fear and the anxiety are overwhelming. You knew it wouldn’t be easy, but it’s
taking an emotional toll you didn’t expect.
You’re stuck in the middle. Half of your associations know you as the same old person,
but the other half is getting to know the true you. It’s difficult. It’s uncomfortable. You
begin to doubt yourself and ask questions like, “Can I really do this? Who am I
kidding? Am I just fooling myself?” So you decide it would be easier to give it up and
go back to living as Anne, resigning yourself to live with that pain instead. At least you
know what to expect and how it feels, you figure.
Making the decision to transition is a bold step. The first few months, in particular, are
especially challenging as two genders are integrated into one. Consequently, it is not
uncommon to begin living as your authentic gender, and then step back into your birthassigned gender role. While it’s not who you are and how you want to live, it’s familiar
and doesn’t feel as intimidating.
This is not a sign of failure. The transition process doesn’t always happen in a linear
fashion. Neither do many big changes that happen in life, really.
For example, Brent has been a truck driver for most of his career. A couple years ago,
he quit his job and began his course work in seminary to become a preacher. Now
most of our friends and associates know him as a preacher, even though he’s not
there quite yet. In order to make ends meet over the summer, though, he returned to
the trucking industry for a few months while school was out. He didn’t identify with this
job position any longer and it wasn’t in line with his goals and aspirations. But it was
familiar to him, and it was a step that he needed to take to achieve the bigger picture of
becoming the preacher he knows himself to be.
Sometimes you just have to get a few more things in order before taking the final step.
Maybe you continue to live in your birth-assigned gender until you have found a
physician to prescribe hormones or to sign off on a letter; or maybe you wait until can
legally afford a name change. Perhaps you need more time to process the journey with
a counselor or a friend. It may, at times, feel discouraging that it’s not going as quickly
or as smoothly as you had hoped.
This doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to being in this position forever. Take
the steps that you can and keep a healthy perspective on where you are going.
Undoubtedly, you will move into your own identity and experience true fulfillment. And
the process you had to go through to get there? It will all be worth it!
The Adventures of Judy Sometimes
Two Days in the Valley, the Red River Valley
Good day All, well, I don't hear it often, but my wife asked me when Judy was coming back
Thursday morning. Apparently she had started to see signs that trouble was brewing. I tend to
get a little moody and distant when I haven't had any girl time for a while. It seems I can only
go about 2 weeks before this happens. She did have a motive though, it was time to go
"SHOPPING". We didn't exchange gifts this year opting to hit the sales after Christmas and
maximize are weak dollar, LOL.
I had a few errands to run that morning and decided Judy may as well take care of them, besides
its more fun that way. I had a little work in front of me to get ready for the next couple days, so
the usual grooming was needed, along with doing my nails. This seems to have become
necessary for me to feel complete when dressing.
My outfit for the day would be jeans, yellow sweater and 1" heeled black boots. My first stop
was Pearle Vision, I had an eye appointment the week before and had ordered more contacts
and they had called saying they were in. I had thought about going to the appointment dressed,
but had to have my eyes dilated and this usually involves a total of about 90 minutes including
the exam and all. I wasn't sure if I'd fill comfortable for that long so I chickened out and went in
I walked into the place and went up to the counter where two GG staff members were sitting. I
stated that I had some contacts to pick up, I gave her my male name and she disappeared for a
few moments then returned with my order. I handed her my credit card which she kept until I
had signed the receipt then checked the signature against my card. Good business practice I
guess and now she knew for sure I wasn't what I appeared to be. Her name was Lindsey and she
was as nice as can be, not treating me any different than she would someone else. She asked me
if I had a good Christmas and what I was doing for New Years and I returned the same
questions, all a very pleasant experience and I was on my way.
My next stop was the Beauty Supply store by Home Depot. I've been buying our hair care
products there dressed for about a year now and the gals seem to recognize me now. I came in
and she greeted me and said, I bet your here for hairspray, I said that I was, but I wanted
something different this time. I told her my wife doesn't care for the way Vavoom smells and
that I needed something with the same holding power but with a more pleasant smell. She kind
of laughed as she opened up a can of Pravana and sprayed it my way, kind of the way I put
perfume on. Spray it in the air and walk into it, something I had learned from my wife. I hope
she likes it, or I could be in trouble, LOL.
Since I hadn't been to the Fashion Bug in about a month, I thought I had better make an
appearance before the girls over there got worried and started calling the house. They had 6
racks of stuff on clearance so I easily found a bunch of tops to try on. As I waited for one of the
sales girls to open up a dressing room, I browsed the jewelry racks, 50% off. She asked if I was
ready for a room, I said I was and she counted the number of items I had. She saw that I had a
polka dot top amongst my items and said that she had tried it on and it did nothing for her. I
stated that it probably wouldn't do much for me either, but would give it a try. One of the tops
made the cut and while I waited for a checkout to open up I managed to find a couple cute
bracelets that actually fit over my hand. While she rang me up she asked if the polka dot top
worked out, I rolled my eyes at her doing my best femme imitation while saying it did
absolutely nothing for me, she laughed as she bagged my purchases. She said to be sure to stop
back after the first of the year because they would have all new merchandise coming in, like she
had to ask, LOL.
I had a little tax preparation to do so I headed home to work on that while my wife was out
getting a pedicure with one of our friends (sigh). When she returned home she said she had
some big news, I said what's that, she said that her and Lori had talked about Judy when they
were getting there pedicures. Lori is the wife of the couple we had told about my feminine side
to last week. Seems she and her husband had talked about me being a crossdresser and that they
wanted to meet Judy. We have known this couple for about 15 years and often see them socially
and have been on more than one vacation with them. It turns out that we were to meet them for
happy hour the next day, exactly what I had hoped for.
By now I had changed into the new dress I had purchased at the Dress barn a couple weeks ago
and my wife said were going out and your wearing that dress, twist my arm I said and away we
went. I decided to wear the knee length sweater over the dress since its somewhat summery. We
headed for Mr. G's because its usually pretty quite around 6:00 and it would give as a chance to
talk about the next days plans. We settled into "our" booth and started planning, first what I was
going to wear for the big "meeting" and then what our plan of attack would be for shopping on
Friday. We stayed for a couple hours planning our attack and soon the music began to pulsate in
our heads, it was time to go.
Of course we weren't through for the night and somehow ended up at Duffy's once again. This
time around it was extremely busy, but we managed to find a tall table near the jukebox. I felt a
little over dressed for the place since most women in there were wearing blue jeans, but I made
the best of the outfit by parading to the ladies room a couple of times through the course of the
evening. Yes I did get a few stares and yes I'm reasonable sure I was read, what's new I thought,
I'm in here and everybody seems to be accepting it, COOL.
We awoke the next day and reviewed our itinerary. Tracy needed to see the chiropractor, so
while she went there I showered and got ready. Upon her return she freshed up and then spiral
curled my hair for this most special day. Our plan was to dress casual for shopping then return
home, change and head for the meeting of Judy and friends.
Again I wore jeans, sweater and 1" heel boots, our first stop was the drive up window at our
bank. I'm beginning to think the girls are starting to figure out that I seem to be two people,
often depositing checks in Judy mode with my male name on the checks, none have said a
thing. CVS pharmacy was next and it turned out to be a most frustrating experience. I had never
purchased razor blades at this particular place and soon found out I my never do so again. When
we finally found the shaving supplies we discovered that all were under lock and key. The
shavers locked on to there display mounts and the blades themselves cleverly unreachable
behind plastic cases with locks. As we struggled to figure out how to remove these items from
there prisons, I wondered if Allen Funt Jr. was waiting somewhere for Judy to make her
national debut on TV. Tracy finally became fed up and went to get someone to open up these
ridiculously entombed items. She explained that the store had went through some recent
changes and it seems these expensive items were rapidly disappearing from there shelves
without being paid for, go figure. We also finally obtained the prized CVS pharmacy discount
card, that saves you up to 50% off your purchases.
We had a gift certificate to use from Barnes and Noble so that was our next destination. The
place was swamped with cars so I knew we would be in for quite a time inside. We quickly
found what we were after and surprisingly mad it out in pretty good time.
We also had a $20 off coupon at Office Depot and since we needed a cartridge for our printer
and a few other supplies we decided to venture into this unfamiliar store, it turned out to be a
very well stocked place and will most likely opt for this store instead of Office Max next time.
Tracy wanted to checkout the Dress barn next since I had such good luck there two weeks ago. I
was given a scratch off discount card on that visit and was excited to see if we could get up to
another 50% off our entire purchase. I found a nice pair of pajamas while Tracy found about
half the store, the poor thing never goes out shopping and seemingly made up for that today.
Our scratch card gained us an additional 20% off so it was well worth the trip, the sales women
said most cards she had seen the last few days were only 10%.
By now it was nearly 3:00 and since our meeting was at 4:00 we decided to head home to
change. This time around I went with my burnt orange blazer, animal print top, patterned slacks
and 3" heeled suede boots. We arrived at the Hodo about 3:50 and each ordered a Martini and
the wait was on. Surprisingly I wasn't the least bit nervous and just knew everything would be
OK. Our friends arrived some 20 minutes later and we started to chat like everything was
normal. I almost wanted to say, hey, when are we going to talk about the fact that I'm here
dressed like a women. It took nearly an 1/2 hour before anything was mentioned about my
dressing. I think they were both a tiny bit nervous and didn't want to be the first to bring it up.
Eventually we started to talk about it and they thought I looked good and that they were 100%
behind me know matter if I was dressed or not. We went back and forth on subjects
occasionally relating a story or two about my dressing and in the end both gave me a big hug
and said that they would gladly come out anytime with me dressed, how's that for supportive,
They had a previous engagement for the rest of the evening so Tracy and I decided to go out
and eat somewhere. We both thought about it for a few seconds and both arrived with the some
idea, The SpeakEasy in Moorhead. When we arrived the place was packed and there was a 20
minute wait. We signed in and I headed for the ladies room. Upon entering I had to wait a
couple minutes and oddly enough never got any strange looks from the few gals that used the
facilities while I was in there. We were lucky and found an empty table in the bar and ordered a
drink. The 20 minute wait turned into about 5 and we had a table right out in plan site for all to
see. Its rather dark in the place and I seemingly blended in fine. Even being stared at by a young
girl of about 3, I wondered to myself if she had gained that tranny radar that so many of these
young girls seem to discover at an early age.
Tasi’s Musings, January, 2014
Greetings from Merida
Feliz Navidad y Feliz Año Nuevo or translated Merry Christmas and
Happy New Year. And while we don’t have snow-covered lanes and
chimneys for Santa, there are a unique and memorable array of traditions here in the Yucatan. There are at least eight separate celebrations
during the season and while I won’t talk about all of them, I’ll give you
just a few examples of the sights and sounds from Merida.
Our chillier nights don’t mean snow, but they do mean lots of lights and
shopping is just as frenzied here as elsewhere. A stylish couple roars up
on a scooter, stopping alongside nuns in white habits while the
cobblestoned streets echo the clip-clop of carriage horses with flowers in their manes. And a
lunar eclipse is said to be the work of ants eating the moon, and during those nights children
bang pots and pans to make the bugs stop.
Merida is the heart of the Mayan culture and for some in the pueblos (villages), it is still the
only language spoken and the names are often unpronounceable such as Dzibilchaltún (tse-veelchal-toon). The salsas here make jalapenos seem like cucumbers. There’s one salsa called
xnipek "nose of the dog," so named because its heat causes your sniffer to sweat.
Or try elote, an ice cream made with corn and guanábana, a fruit that
looks like a hairy radioactive pickle but tastes as sweet as a mango. At
Wayané, a tiny stand in the Itzimná district of Merida, we wash down
tacos with a barley drink called agua de cebada, possibly the sweetest,
lumpiest digestif in the world; later, we dine by candlelight at Néctar, a
lounge-style bistro with Mexican-Asian fusion dishes such as
Vietnamese taquitos and duck chimichangas. Fortunately, the kitchen
has run out of huitlacoche, a delicacy that my friend insists I try. And
that would be?
"Corn smut," he says. "It's a fungus, like a mushroom."
In the News
Conservatives Outraged by Kinky Boots Performance in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Conservatives bashed Macy's via social media for the inclusion of a drag queen and a musical
number from the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Kinky Boots during the Macy's
Thanksgiving Day Parade. Check out their performance here.
Members from Transgender group of Blue Diamond society participate in a fashion show marking the World Aids Day at Hanumandhoka Durbar Square in Kathmandu, Nepal, Dec. 1, 2013.
Various programs were organized on the World Aids Day with the theme of "Getting to Zero".
A cold war fought by women. How aggressive is the
human female? When the anthropologist Sarah B.
Hardy surveyed the research literature three decades
ago, she concluded that “the competitive component
in the nature of women remains anecdotal, intuitively
sensed, but not confirmed by science.”. The existence
of female competition may seem obvious to anyone
who has been in a high-school cafeteria or a singles
bar, but analyzing it has been difficult because it
tends be more subtle and indirect (and a lot less
violent) than the male variety. Now that researchers
have been looking more closely, they say that this “intrasexual competition” is the most
important factor explaining the pressures that young women feel to meet standards of sexual
conduct and physical appearance. So want to know why short skirts and not jeans, read the
complete article from the New York Times
The Salvation Army bell-ringers are out in front of many stores at Christmas time but do you
really want to give to their cause. Read about their long history of anti-LGBT discrimination.
Books and Movies
Shifting Visions is closer to the completion and eventual release of their new, long-awaited
transgender documentary, "TransJourney." Produced and Co-Directed by Dr. Alexia Kosmider,
TransJourney is a film about gender confirmation and acceptance. Similar to going on a journey
to explore an unknown territory, TransJourney explores three women’s personal journeys and
the ways that their lives have become intertwined, and made stronger, because of each other.
Shifting Visions Films anticipates having the film completed by Spring of 2014, and premiering
the film at the Boston LGBTQ Film Festival in May of 2014.
Sean Bean named Best Actor at International Emmy Awards for portrayal
of a transvestite in The Accused. He shed his tough-guy image to portray
the transvestite who gets involved in an affair with a married man which
leads to a brutal crime of passion. Sean is best known for his roles as the
warrior Boromir in Lord of the Rings and Ned Stark in TV’s Game of
Thrones so Sean Bean’s casting as a transvestite in The Accused raised
some eyebrows. It has been 20 years since Bean first became famous
playing Colonel Richard Sharpe in the ITV Napoleonic drama Sharpe and
if you haven’t watched the series on You Tube, you are indeed missing a
fine adventure story.
Killing Us Softly. In this new, highly anticipated update of her pioneering
Killing Us Softly series, the first in more than a decade, Jean Kilbourne takes a fresh look at
how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity. The film marshals a
range of new print and television advertisements to lay bare a stunning pattern of damaging
gender stereotypes -- images and messages that too often reinforce unrealistic, and unhealthy,
perceptions of beauty, perfection, and sexuality. By bringing Kilbourne's groundbreaking
analysis up to date, Killing Us Softly 4 stands to challenge a new generation of students to take
advertising seriously, and to think critically about popular culture and its relationship to sexism,
eating disorders, and gender violence.
Fashion and Beauty
This is Beata, an over 40 Polish fashion blogger with an
incredible sense of style. The essence of Beata’s style is
simplicity and this should speak to most crossdressers
who in general are not well versed in the fine points of
How to Dress for Your Plus-Size Shape. What are the
Dressing for your shape takes patience and a lot of trying
on clothes. Most people think they are limited when it
comes to dressing for your body type but that’s simply
just not true. Identifying and understanding your shape is
about knowing what works for the largest and smallest
parts of your body.
The most common shapes in women are apple, pear,
hourglass, and a rectangle. There are other shapes
and fruits that can be used to define your body type
but lets just stick with the most common. Depending
on your height and weight you can be a blend of two
shapes. This is why trying on clothes when shopping
is important. Most apple shaped women, for example,
have large chests but there are some apple shaped
women with small breasts and high waists which can
blend in with the pear shape.
To help make shopping a little more fun and less
strenuous, Alissa has listed the most common
characteristics of each of the most common shapes,
your style goal, what to buy, and because you are a
visual learner, she also added some notable celebs
who have your shape in common. Click the link
above to read the entire article and learn what works
best for you.
Lisa is one of our authors on Sister House with such favorite articles as Downplaying
Pantyhose and Fitting-In and Waist and Waistlines. Watch her video here and then visit our
Boutique to copy some of her outfits.
Skirts and dresses make me feel good wrote Rachel Kramer Bussel in Refinery 29. 2461 people
read the article and 63 ladies commented, so we crossdressers are not alone in our desire to
dress the image of a traditional woman. Rachel said, “let me be clear that it’s not a religious or
moral thing…They make me feel sexy and pretty. I am not a huge
makeup wearer or what you'd call a girly girl, so dresses and skirts are my
biggest nod to femininity, aside from having long hair. I don’t go all out
with them, only occasionally adding jewelry or heels. But, even with
sneakers, I still feel good wearing a dress.”
Rachel went on with some additional reasons, notably they are
comfortable, they fit the shape of her body, they’re versatile, and they
pack easily. Click the link above to read more of the article and then
check out the incredible assortment of skirts from minis to maxis
in our Boutique.
Winter Fun for those that love ice and snow J Then some lovely Christmas music.
Here’s an unusual presentation by the U.S. Air Force band at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
But not to be outdone by Snoopy in Snoopy vs. The Red Baron (Snoopy's Christmas)
And lastly, this Christmas song is the creation of internet song-masher Voicedude and was
featured on the online album "Santastic Four"—which, along with a tweet from Neil Gaiman, is
probably why it has almost twice as many views as his next most popular video
So until next month
A nurse was on duty in the Emergency Room
when a young woman with purple hair styled
into a punk rocker Mohawk, sporting a
variety of tattoos, and wearing strange
clothing, entered... It was quickly
determined that the patient had acute
appendicitis, so she was scheduled for
When she was completely disrobed on the
operating table, the staff noticed that her pubic
hair had been dyed green and above it there
was a tattoo that read, 'Keep off the grass.'
Once the surgery was completed, the
surgeon wrote a short note on the patient's
dressing, which said 'Sorry... Had to mow the
Look again-- two, three times!
Have a laugh!! These
the backs of the bar stools.
Angels In the Centerfold
Mellissalynn’s Tips & Tricks
And so, we start a new year! It’s 2014, girls (or will be in a few days, as this issue of the
magazine is actually coming out early). What are your New Year’s resolutions?
Mine are manifold. The ever-present desire to lose weight is one big one, as always. I’d love
to be in the 170-180 pound range; for my eight, that would be quite slender. It’s also, I fear, a
pipe dream. So instead I’m just shooting to work on my weight and get down as much as I can,
without setting a target weight.
I’m also, with luck, by the time you all read this, down to my final hours of school! As of when
I’m writing this, I have about a week left. In that time, I have five tests and a practical
examination to get through, and then all I have to do is finish my 1900 hours of study. My
estimations put that as happening sometime in the afternoon on January 2nd. Bear in mind that
I’m on Christmas break from the afternoon
of December 20th until January 2nd, also.
So, another resolution is to get myself up
and running in a shop as soon as possible. I
still have to go through my state board
(another written test), and receive my
license before I can start.
Lastly, me and mine are going to be
moving. So my last resolution is to get
packed up and make myself purge (No, not
Mellissa’s stuff!) the things and debris that
accumulate from living in one place for too
long. I’m looking to have quite a garage
So tell me, my friends, what are your
resolutions? Weight, giving up a vice,
perhaps letting your girl side out more? I’d
love to hear about any of them! Write me
at [email protected]!
And here we go, the first column of 2014!
I want to start this off with a question I received from Jan, a friend on LinkedIn. I’ve posted
myself on there as a makeup artist and soon-to-be professional stylist, and have had some really
good conversations and picked up quite a bit of information there. Jan wants to know how to
revive a dying mascara. Here is her letter, and my response:
“Hi Mellissa, I read your articles in the monthly newsletter and see your responses on both
TheTGWoman & PrettyTGirls. I think you (once) said how to renew tired mascara.. What do
you do? (Mine is) kinda clumpy now. Thanks. Hugs, Jan
“Hi, Jan! Well, my normal response would be to simply get a new mascara, but I sense that this
isn't the answer you're looking for. So I did some research and found that there are a few
different methods to do this.
“First of all, remember not to pump your mascara when you're using it. By pumping, I mean
pushing the wand in and out a few times before using it. This traps air in the mascara tube and
can cause the clumpiness (usually caused by air getting trapped in the tube and drying the
mascara out), and can also let bacteria into your mascara, which is to be avoided at all costs!
“To renew your mascara, try a drop or two of contact solution. I've also heard that a drop or two
of liquid eye makeup remover will do the same thing. Basically, it's similar to renewing nail
polish; when it's clumpy, it's drying out. You need to thin it out a bit to make it work again.
“Now, that's what you can do while it's in the tube. If it's clumping on your eyes when you apply it, there are a few other things you can try. Start by giving your wand a good once-over before you apply. If you see clumps in the wand, that's what you'll see on your eyes. Common
sense, right? What I do is to take another (clean, preferably unused) wand and run the two together lightly, to remove the excess. You can use a spooly to do this as well. I've also heard of
women using an eyebrow comb to go through the wand and remove clumps.
The next step is for when you're actually applying your mascara to your lashes. Remember to
get right to the root of your lashes to start. Wiggle the wand there a bit, both up and down and
left and right, to get a good application at the base. Then, use a firm, solid stroke up the lashes
to the tips. Give your lashes a few seconds to dry before blinking, and then apply a second
My first advice is simply to purchase a new tube. The dangers of old mascara, as you’ve all
heard me say ad nauseum, are just too many and too much to risk using it. In an emergency,
though, this seems to be a good solution.
Let’s talk for a moment about using foundation. Some of these tips I may have discussed
before, but after the horror I saw being inflicted at a makeup counter recently, I think it’s a good
time to review.
When applying foundation, ladies, the first rule is to match your color as closely as possible to
the natural skin tone. Otherwise, it’s going to be obvious when the face is an utterly different
color than the rest of the body! What is especially bad (and is what I saw happening at the
makeup counter) is when there’s an obvious line of demarcation, where the foundation stops
and the natural tone starts. This is the worst thing in the world to see on a woman, and is a very
obvious giveaway that she doesn’t know how to apply her war paints. For T-women, well, we
can’t afford anything that makes us look less than perfect when it’s something like this that we
can control. SO please, don’t do this to yourself!
So, for my monthly discussion (rant) about hygiene and makeup, let’s talk about something I
never knew had an expiration date. An unopened bottle of nail polish only has a shelf life of
one year. This is such a bummer, since there is no way to finish an entire bottle in just 12
months. However, nail polish remover has no shelf life and will last forever. Kinda seems
Here’s a great little trick for making up a massage oil. Buy some body lotion in your favorite
scent from the dollar store (i.e. raspberry, cherry, lavender). Mix this together with baby oil in
a bowl, then warm it in the microwave for a few seconds. You’ll love the results!
I found this trick in an old English book on makeup tips and tricks. Before bed, simply place
two Band-Aids (the book calls them plasters) across your forehead to smooth any frown lines,
sleep and remove them. After one week, you'll notice a huge difference. Just be careful which
ones you use as some skin types may be sensitive to the adhesive. If you have dry skin, you can
also use surgical adhesive. If you've already had Botox or fillers, this trick will prolong your
treatment for a good few more months, saving you money and time.
Here’s a nifty idea for using the little sponge applicators that come with eyeshadows and other
cosmetics. They also work quite well for applying lipstick! Just dab the brush on your lipstick
to get some color, then apply gently to your lips. I tried this and it works quite well; I prefer
this method to using a brush.
I had the satisfaction recently of showing my esthetics instructor at school a few tricks she
didn’t know for doing makeup…on men. She was skeptical at first, but when she saw my
makeup, she was quite surprised and willing to listen. The one she was really taken with is one
that I’ve been using for almost two decades now.
This is a very inexpensive way to help cover your stubble. After shaving very good and letting
your skin rest a few moments, apply an ice cube to your face. This will help to shrink the pores
a bit when you apply your makeup. After drying your face, apply some baby powder sparingly
to your beard areas. Don’t overdo this, as you’ll come out looking very pale. The powder will
get into the hair follicles and coat the shafts, lightening them up and causing your face to not
have the dark tint that the hair under the skin always casts. I recommend applying this just like
you would a blush or translucent powder, with a brush. Apply your concealer and foundation
Let's talk about a few simple tricks to make you look beautiful for the cameras. I've been doing
some research on the matter, talking to some professional and semi-professional photographers,
and here are a few pearls of wisdom I've gleaned.
1) This trick will stop you looking like a
demon in your pictures. Look toward a
light right before someone snaps your
photo. Doing so will shrink your pupils
and help you avoid red eye.
2) If you can find one, stand in front of a
white wall. A light-colored backdrop
will help brighten your face. Using a
white background also helps a camera’s
automatic settings find the right color
balance, so your skin tone doesn’t end
up looking too pink or yellow.
3) This one, I think, is just common
sense. Avoid standing directly under a
light, which can cast weird shadows on your face. Instead, stand facing a natural light source,
such as a window, or in a spot where soft light hits your face from the side. Don't stand in front
of a window; in daytime, the glare will wash you out, and at night, any exposed glass can catch
a flash and throw glare.
4) This is a great one for us taller girls to remember! A photo shot from just above you is way
more flattering than one shot from below. If you’re taller than the person holding the camera,
grab a seat.
5) Avoid serious sparkles or shimmer on your face. If you're a shimmer addict and just can’t
help yourself, keep your face matte or semi-matte (a velvety finish) and add a little highlighter
to just the tips of the cheekbones and the bridge of the nose with a powder highlighter that has a
very soft sheen. On the other hand, a bit of sparkle below the neck can give your skin a pretty
sheen. Dust your collarbone and shoulders with a shimmering powder; it will give you the
perfect finish for playing up assets.
I want to talk a few moments about your lips. There are many things that can go worng with
your pucker, from dry, chapped lips that no self-respecting person would want to kiss, to having
pink teeth because you've gnawed all of your color off. Here are some ways to prevent these
There’s nothing worse than chapped lips. You can try this at-home exfoliating concoction to
take care of the problem. Take a teaspoon of granulated sugar and a half-teaspoon of honey
and apply the mixture to your lips. The sugar will gently slough off dead skin and honey seals
in the moisture.
Use lipliner! I know, it seems outdated to some girls, but it's there for a reason. Used properly,
liner keeps your lipstick from feathering out off your lips, and in fact will make it last longer.
Having said this (and I may well have said this before), remember to use a color that matches as
closely as possible your lipstick shade. There's nothing worse than seeing a woman with a ring
around her lips because her liner is too dark.
When you're actually applying your lipstick remember to stay in the lines. I see women all the
time who can't get this simple concept, dating back to kindergarten when we color in the
coloring books, to apply to their lipstick. It looks sloppy.
Now that your lips are the perfect shade, seal the deal. Take a dab of concealer and lightly
outline the corners of your lips. Blend this in for a perfectly sealed pout. You can lightly dust a
bit of translucent powder over the concealer to set everything in place. This not only seals in
your shade, but also creates a clean finish with a bit of a highlight for real perfection. Keep this
tip in mind, especially when dealing with red, fuchsia and other dark hues, which tend to
migrate into fine lines or settle into the corners of your lips.
Try this trick: take your index finger and insert it directly in the center of your sealed lips, then
gently remove. You may find you have a ring of color outlining your finger. Guess what?
That’s the color that threatened to land on your teeth. Fix as necessary.
Lastly, apply just a dab of lip gloss to your lips. For younger women and girls, you can use as
much as you like and get away with it. For the older women, use just a small amount in the
center of your lips. You'll find this is all that's necessary.
Last tip for the month! It’s January, the changing of the seasons. It’s once again time to go
through your makeup and part with the items that show some age or may have gone bad.
Blemishes are your enemy, so take every possible step to avoid them!
With that bit of knowledge, I think I’m going to close this column out. There’s only so much
good information I can pack into one column! I have to save something for next month,
If any of you have something to share with me as far as ideas, or tip or tricks, or want to tell me
how well something I’ve suggested works, feel free to do so! You all know my e-mail address
by now, I hope, but just in case, here it is yet again: [email protected] No tip is too
small, no trick will be turned away. Please write me like Jan did, and you’ll see your name in
I hope you all have a good January. Stay warm and dry, and I hope you find time to be
beautiful as well. For you snow bunnies out there, be safe and remember that Mother Nature
can be very harsh on your skin this time of year!
I’ll talk to you all in February, when we celebrate the girliest of all holidays, Valentine’s Day!
Love Your New Profile Pic with These Tips and Tricks
by Rachel Hayes
The secret to being the envy of your pals' news feed: photoready makeup. With these pro tactics, you'll never need a
filter. (This photo of Kate Upton? Your inspiration.)
1. MEET YOUR MATCH: "I see what I call Casper heads
all over Facebook -- women who use body self-tanner but
forget to adjust their foundation," says Matin Maulawizada, a
celeb makeup artist in New York City. "Overly exposed cell
phone photos don't help." Easy fix: Mix a bronzer, like The
Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Gel for Face, $14, into
your base (read: foundation, BB cream or tinted moisturizer),
then blend down neck.
2. ADD SOME FLASH: Digital pics can wash out your gorgeous features, so choose bolder colors than usual or apply with a heavier hand, says Davis
Factor, celebrity photographer and founder of Smashbox Cosmetics in Los Angeles. A punchy
berry lipcolor is fresh and universally flattering. Try Dior Diorific Lipstick in Minuit, $36. For
eyes, line top and bottom lids, then repeat.
3. BUT DON'T BE CHEEKY: The one exception to the more-is-more rule is blush. You're
probably already flushing a bit in front of the camera. For glowy skin, better to rub a sheer
cream or gel bronzer into the hollows of cheeks. Then try this supermodel trick: Tap eye serum,
such as Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Eye Serum, $82, onto the tops of cheekbones for subtle
gleam. (Disco ball is so not a good LinkedIn look.)
4. GET AIRBRUSHED: Last, grab a big, fluffy brush and dust one of the new high-definition
setting powders all over your face, such as Cargo_HD Picture Perfect Translucent powder, $32,
The finely milled minerals give a pretty soft-focus effect, just like the kind from Instagram
Model Secrets: How to Look Great in Every Photo
Whether it's for your Facebook profile or your LinkedIn headshot, Project
Runway's Models of the Runway tell you how to look your best in photos.
By Ning Chao
Alexis Broker, Denver, CO:
"Looking good in front of a camera is all about
confidence. Practice posing in front of a mirror at
home. If you think it looks good, it probably does."
Brittany Oldehoff, Fort Lauderdale, FL:
"When you're posing in swimwear, you just have to
think you're the hottest girl on the planet. Arch the
back, 'tooch' the booty—as Tyra would say—pout
your lips, and look seductive."
Cerri McQuillan, Dublin, Ireland:
"Be proud of your freckles, goofy teeth, or big ears—
they're what make you unique. When you're comfortable with yourself, it will always shine through. But
hey, if all else fails, Photoshop!"
Holly Ridings, Decatur, IL:
"If I have an early-morning shoot, I'll put pure
glycerin on my lips at bedtime. When I wake up the
next morning, my lips look flawless, with no lines
Brandise Danesewich, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,
"A punk-rock snarl at a 45-degree angle never fails for
snapshots. Think Billy Idol."
Kasey Ashcraft, Salisbury, MD:
"Don't forget to spend time on your eyebrows—they
frame your face."
Lorena Angjeli, Fieri, Albania:
"Put mascara on your lashes before applying false
ones to help them stick."
Alison Gingerich, Leesburg, OH:
"If you're scared of the camera, it shows. I think
about songs when being photographed, and it's
really fun looking at my pictures because only I know
what I was thinking about at the time. It's like I'm
looking at a journal that only I can read."
Kristina Sajko, Zagreb, Croatia:
"Be free in front of the camera. I recommend
practicing in front of a mirror first. Move a lot and
never feel embarrassed."
Monique Darton, Tucson, AZ:
"Remember to breathe, believe in yourself, and smile."
Valeria Leonova, Tula, Russia:
"Putting one or two hands on your waist always
creates the illusion that your legs are a little bit
longer. But watch your fingers! Keep them together,
not spread out."
Megan Davis, Des Moines, IA:
"Be very energetic and try not to pose. Move
naturally, dance, and have fun."
Is There a Belt That Flatters a Large Midsection?
Real Simple answers your questions.
Q. I love the look of belts, but I have a large midsection. Can a
belt flatter my body?
A. Definitely. “A belt is an instant waist creator,” says stylist Ricci DeMartino.
Here’s what to keep in mind: A wide belt that is contoured (or cut on a curve, so that it looks
like a smile when laid down) will give an undefined torso a nice shape. “If it’s made of thick
elastic, it can even act as a girdle,” says style authority Bridgette Raes. Steer clear of skinny
styles. “A wide belt will suck you in more,” says DeMartino.
Keep your overall look monochromatic and sleek by choosing a belt in a shade similar to that of
your clothes. Position the belt slightly below the waist, close to the pelvic bone. Anywhere else
will call attention to the tummy. Wear the belt over something soft that you can blouse slightly
above the buckle. That way, the extra fabric can hide the fullness around your middle.
Tasi’s Fashion News
I Love That Dress But It’s From China
I normally love to talk just about fashion and how we use fashion to create that
personal style that leads to your special brand of femininity, but some recent
experiences in searching for quality clothing online has left a surprising sour taste in
my mouth over all the bad customer experiences, poor product quality and well, just
plain untruths from many vendors, and especially those in the Far East. So why do we
need to talk about this?
We’ll, let’s say you went online and found just the
perfect special occasion dress, a bridal outfit, a prom
dress, or maybe just a special costume to fulfill one of
your fantasies, Ah! And look at that special price…I just
saved $200 or more, and I love the beading, and
turquoise is my very favorite color. So I order through
PayPal for a 3 week delivery time.
Well three weeks go by and still no dress, so I contact
the vendor. Oh, yes, we did ship and here’s the tracking
number. Well unfortunately a tracking number for China
Post only works in China (surprise, surprise). The same
is true for other countries as well. But you were going to use an express carrier. We
did, China Express. OK, so I grumble a bit but with the assurances that my package
will soon arrive.
And finally it comes and I’m so excited as I tear open the package and hold up the
dress of my dreams. Except that’s it so crumpled that I doubt even the dry cleaner will
get all those wrinkles out. And wait, it’s not turquoise, but purple, and this beading that
made the dress so special is barely attached, and the lace shawl that was part of the
purchase is missing.
Well, of course, I immediately email the vendor and well, you know how colors are not
true to life on the computer, and I’m sure you can find a seamstress to reattach the
beading…..you know that happens in shipping sometimes. Oh, the shawl was out of
Now, least you think I’m making this up, this story is repeated many times over when
you read customer reviews about their online purchases. And oh! IT GETS WORSE.
Here are just a few more examples of quality issues.
Not as described
Wrong color (not what they had in stock when the dress was made)
Wrong size (even with measurements given)
Rips and poor stitching
Fabric so sheer that well, everything underneath shows
Burns (was she smoking when she made the dress?)
Without a doubt, poor manufacturing is a major problem and one to which there really
isn’t a ready solution other than “Buyer Beware”. You are not likely to get your money
back either, so those savings become like a puff of smoke – fast disappearing if you
can’t wear the dress. Or whatever your purchase might be.
But they have “return policies”. Hope you have a law degree when trying to interpret
those return policies. Most have a set number of days to return an item and some have
times that start when you make the purchase – not when you receive it. Then there’s
the never-ending back and forth with customer service ending in OOPS! The return
period has expired.
There was one incident, and believe me, this is real.
The belt was missing. Sorry-out of stock. The sleeves
are puffy, not straight. Sorry, wrong picture. I’d like my
money back. Sorry, but we already paid the
dressmaker. This went on for several weeks. Finally –
well then, I’ll just return the dress. Sorry, the return period has expired…..
PayPal is the frequent method of payment. It’s fast and
it’s easy. But when you have problems with the vendor,
PayPal, unlike credit card companies will not get
involved. This is not a condemnation of PayPal. They are a transaction processing
company and nothing more, and their payment mechanisms work well. Just be aware
that your money is at risk if the vendor does not provide you what you think you
Vendors also post pictures of items that they do not have (and never did) and their
rampant misinformation is frustrating and hurtful. Then you have “Bait and Switch”
which large companies with multiple product lines utilize to get clothing buyers to buy
electronic goods with their corresponding higher markups. This is really annoying.
Now here’s one that I have difficulty understanding in this modern technological
age……search engines that don’t work. Computers as you know are very specific and
if you put a dot instead of a dash, it may not find what you are looking for. Or more so,
the description is something other than what the vendor has named it. I’ve even used
the description in a stores advertising and their search engine could not find it. It could
be something as simple as clip earring versus clip-on earring. Good search engines
like Google and Yahoo will suggest alternate spellings. I guess only large companies
have access to this technology. Well, maybe not. Amazon has problems too.
Apparently the technology used in their book selection process never made it over to
the clothing side.
Did you know that according to a recent survey 1 in 3 people don’t think that
complaining is worth the effort. For small value purchases perhaps that is true, but to
be out several hundred dollars is another matter, not including the disappointment and
lost time and money.
If this was a domestic purchase there are steps you can follow to turn a negative
situation into a positive outcome. Traditional advice centering around keeping records,
speaking to management, and acting calmly may often work, but in dealing with foreign
companies, particularly those that have learned all the marketing tricks and processes
for keeping their money, you need to exercise due diligence before you purchase.
First, check out the consumer experience with the vendor. Even the better foreign
companies run higher complaint rates than domestic suppliers, but a 20% complaint
rate is still better than an 80% complaint rate. Top sales executives across industries
have told us that the sales model is broken in most retail companies. Instead of
building profitable long-term customer relationships, most sales associates and
customer service personnel focus just on transactions.
Here are some sources for checking out possible suppliers:
Top Consumer Reviews
The next step is to really understand what you are buying. Be
specific on the details, measurements, and specifications of
the purchase and get confirmation from the vendor. This
involves a little more work than filling out an online purchase
form and clicking the Buy Now button. Email customer service
and confirm the details and availability of the items including
any accessories being purchased separately. Be
knowledgeable on the shipping options and their cost.
But if all else fails and you still experience a failure in service,
there are options. How to complain is a fine art unto itself and
if you need help, we suggest you start at How to Complain,
This comprehensive site provides much information and
resources. For domestic vendors, you can file a complaint
with the FTC online; use the agency's Complaint Assistant form. There is some
general information here.
For a foreign vendor, there is less satisfaction but the page for accessing the complaint
form also has a link to the econsumer.gov site for registering a complaint against an
entity in another country.
So, be aware and be smart least you join that increasingly larger group of consumers
that are being ripped-off with little or no recourse. Happy Shopping.
5 Ways to Save Money on Your Male to Female
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lucille Sorella is a GG (genetic girl)
who teaches crossdressers, transsexuals, and transgender
females how to look, act, and feel like real women. Her goal
is to help T-women express their inner and outer femininity
and increase their confidence as women. She has a professional background in fashion, beauty, dance, and natural
healing and has been working
with the transgender community for the past 12 years. Her
website is loaded with useful information and is located at
In case you haven’t noticed, being a girl gets expensive. Makeup, clothes, shoes, lingerie, perfume … the list goes on and on!
Wanna be femme and fabulous WITHOUT going broke?
Here are 5 ways to build a femme wardrobe – while saving money on your male to female
1. Shop at consignment stores
While you can find cheap clothes galore at
thrift stores like the Salvation Army or
Goodwill, it means sifting through racks of
ugly, decades-old clothes.
Instead, I suggest shopping at consignment
stores. Consignment stores also offer secondhand clothing, but they are much more
choosy about what they offer.
It’s a great way to find fashionable (often designer) clothes for a fraction of the original price.
2. Save big during sales
I LOVE a good sale – and I’m sure
you do too. The trick is to know
when to shop to get the best deals.
Retailers usually offer their best
sales at specific times of year,
Major holidays like Labor Day,
Mother’s Day, or the 4th of July
The end of summer
Many stores also have their own schedule for semi-annual sales. For example, Victoria’s Secret
holds their Semi-Annual Sale in the winter and summer. Get on your favorite stores’ email lists
to be notified of sales.
3. Shop the outlets
Outlet stores like TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, and
Kohls are great places to find bargains year
Here are my favorite online outlets:
6PM.com and Overstock.com carry plus size clothing and large-size women’s shoes, so they’re
a great option for bigger girls.
4. Stop wasting money on things you don’t wear
Spending money on things you’ll later regret is the
My rule is not to buy anything (no matter how
cheap) unless it:
Is the right color
Works with at least 2 outfits you already own
I like to wait a week to cut the tags off any clothes I purchase so I can make up my mind slowly
and still be able to return things later.
4. Know when to save and when to
While it’s important to save money, some things
worth investing in include:
Silicon breast forms
A high quality wig
Good foundation and concealer
These items can make or break your feminine
image, so purchase the best quality you can afford.
Then look for bargains when it comes to things like: trendy fashion pieces, eye shadow, nail
polish, panties, etc.
5 Chic Winter Outfits
By Yolanda Wikiel
Let these stylishly cozy picks be your go-to cold remedy for winter weekends.
The Comfy Jeggings
French Connection Hat
Topped with a pom-pom, this acrylic-blend cap is a
The genius of a navy tweed topcoat? It classes up
anything you wear underneath.
The Chunky Sweater
BB Dakota Sweater
This chunky wool-blend pullover is decadently soft—a
nice perk, considering the price.
Land's End Canvas Shirt
Thin cotton with a broken-in, worn-it-forever feel.
The Faux-Fur Scarf
Come Monday, sport these gunmetal twists with a serious
Garnet Hill Scarf
A faux-fur collar is as snuggly as a comforter.
Simply Vera Vera Wang Cardigan
Your practical wool-blend cardigan goes glam with flecks
American Eagle Outfitters Shirt
This western denim button-down with a tiny floral is the
perfect marriage of tomboy and girlie girl.
Chloe + Isabel Bangles
Because this silver-plated design is oval, not round, the duo fits better on the wrist.
Don’t be fooled: A skirt may seem dressy, but this wool blend’s full cut is easy and forgiving.
The Chic Cape
Chloe + Isabel Earrings
Give yourself the star treatment with gold-plated
If the Snuggie ever got a high-fashion makeover, it
might look like this chic acrylic-and-wool-blend
This cashmere (yes, cashmere!) top offers warmth
without bulk. Great for layering or on its own.
Erin McDermott Necklace
Loopy black-resin beads add a fun element but barely
weigh a thing.
Big Star Pants
Evergreen-colored corduroys can be paired with more
than just neutrals. Try them with purple, burgundy,
and every shade of blue.
Karen London Earrings
Add some rustic character with slightly imperfect gold
A wool-blend duffel with a faux-fur hood is one cool
For a more playful way to bundle up, connect the dots
to this cotton number.
Lucky Brand Shirt
Layer this cotton long-sleeve tee underneath cropped
Big Star Pants
The flattering midrise of these cords helps hold in the
Gemma Simone Ring
Chunky and faceted, this gold-tone style has a stretchable band.
These Peruvian-inspired fabric loafers have a comfortably wide toe box and snazzy tassels.
Avoiding Wardrobe Blunders
By Ashley Tate
Nine common (and commonly ignored) dressing oversights―and easy ways to fix them.
Problem: Incorrectly Hemmed Jeans
Solution: A Good Tailor
Don't cut off the extra length and at the same time lose the
nice crisp hemline (marked by the recognizable yellow
thread). "A good tailor should be able to preserve the original
hem," says Guillermo Molina, owner of Guillermo Couture,
in New York City. With very long pants, your tailor may
have to cut off a bit of fabric above the hemline and reattach
the original hems (with barely noticeable blue thread that
matches the denim), but the task can usually be achieved by
folding a hem up accordion-style and sewing it in place, so
the original finished seam is in plain view.
Problem: Peds in Plain View
Solution: Partial Peds
Your secret weapon against blistered toes is a pair of
Peds. But make sure they're truly a secret weapon.
"Visible Peds are a classic faux pas," says Leah Feldon, author of Does This Make Me Look Fat?: The
Definitive Rules for Dressing Thin for Every Height,
Size, and Shape (Villard, $15, amazon.com). To avoid
peekaboo nylons, skip the skimpy stockings altogeter
or try Hue Toe Covers ($15 for three pairs,
barenecessities.com), which cover only the front half
of the foot. A bit of padding on the bottom provides a
cushion and keeps the cover from sliding and
scrunching into the toe of your shoe.
Problem: Unopened Vent
Jackets, blazers, and skirts often come with vents that are
tacked together with thread. "Don't forget to snip the string
once you bring your item home from the store," says
JoAnna Nicholson, author of Dressing Smart for Women:
101 Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make...and How to
Avoid Them (Impact Publications, $17, amazon.com).
Besides being a potential source of embarrassment, a
tacked-together vent may also increase your chances of
ripping your garment when you take a large step or reach
for something on the top pantry shelf.
Problem: A Gaping Blouse
Your favorite shirt was dried once too often, and now it's a
bit snug, with buttons that appear to be hanging on for dear
life. "You don't want your coworkers staring at your chest,
waiting for a button to pop off onto the conference table,"
says Clinton Kelly, cohost of TLC's What Not to Wear. To
avoid this scenario, sew a small piece of Velcro between the
buttons or use a piece of double-stick tape. That way your
shirt will stay flush against your skin, buttons will remain
attached, and your assets will be tucked away from Bob in
Problem: Cropped Pants with Boots
Solution: Taller Boots
Once considered a summer-only staple, Capri pants are
now available in thicker, fall-friendly fabrics, such as
wool and tweed. But don't wear them with your lowest
pair of boots. "Low ankle boots paired with cropped pants
look dowdy, because they break up your silhouette," says
Stacy London, cohost of TLC's What Not to Wear.
"Wearing high boots that completely cover the calves and
a few inches of skin underneath the pants has a more elongating effect," she says.
Problem: Peekaboo Lingerie
Solution: A Nude Bra
White underwear may seem demure and understated next
to that rack of red lace skivvies in the department store,
but it screams "Look at me!" when worn under white
clothing. If you want your unmentionables to be
unnoticeable underneath a favorite white T-shirt or blouse,
wear a bra that is close to your skin tone (this holds true
for all underwear).
Problem: Visible Tag
Solution: Seam Ripper
Your Sealy Posturepedic mattress may have come with a
DO NOT REMOVE label, but your brand-new scarf
didn't. So throw needless caution to the wind and snip the
tags on scarves, sheer blouses, and any other wardrobe
piece with an unsightly label. Use a seam ripper in lieu of
scissors to easily remove stitches holding the tag in place,
but beware of tags sewn directly into a seam, says
Audrey Smaltz, founder of the Ground Crew, a backstage
-management company for fashion shows. For these use a
small pair of scissors to cut the tag just below the seam
(so the tiny bit of tag is barely noticeable).
Problem: A Bare Midriff
Pant rises have gotten lower (and lower), but shirts, sweaters,
and blouses have stayed the same. The result? An exposed
midsection that leaves you looking like a teen pop
sensation. Rather than banishing your favorite―and most
flattering―pair of pants to the back of the closet, layer a lacy
tank top underneath a sweater. A hint of added color and
texture keeps your tummy hidden and creates a more
interesting, modern look. Another benefit: Um, how about
Problem: Visible Panty Line
Solution: Smooth Briefs
You want all the attention on you, not your tush. A
visible panty line draws attention to your backside
(making it look larger), but don't assume a lifetime of
wearing thongs is your only option. "Panties are more
demure and chic, and they are also a lot more
comfortable," says Simon Doonan, creative director of
Barneys New York. Jockey No Panty Line Promise briefs
($9.50, jockey.com) have flat seams that are only 1/8
inch wide, preventing them from cutting into your skin.
These full-coverage briefs end below the curvature of
your bottom, completely covering (not bisecting) the area
where pants tend to be most snug. Bonus: The spandex
briefs are as soft as your most lived-in T-shirt.
Why Every Day Is No-Pants Day For Me
Rachel Kramer Bussel
For me, every day is no-pants day. Not in the sense of
Improv Everywhere’s no-pants subway riding, but rather, in the
sense that when I get dressed, my options are all skirts and tops
or dresses. I no longer own any pants, save for sweats to sleep in
and my workout gear. For the last three years, I’ve worn a dress
or skirt daily, and before that, my pants-wearing was sporadic.
This wasn’t a challenge I set for myself or an experiment I
embarked on but, instead, a natural evolution of my fashion
sense. I used to wear jeans, but when I moved this year, I found
only two pairs when I unpacked — and I couldn’t
remember the last time I’d worn them. Certainly telling.
So, why do I stick to skirts and dresses? First, let me be clear that
it’s not a religious or moral thing. In fact, if anyone ever told me I
couldn’t wear pants, I’d probably sport them out of spite. I don’t believe, as some Christians do,
that pants would “defraud men with the way I dress” because “if a lady wears pants, a man’s
eyes are drawn to a part of her body they should not be drawn to,” or that jeans represent an
immodest way of dressing, as a few other religions suggest. Let's be real here: Of course pants
can be just as revealing as skirts or dresses. But, there are a number of legit reasons why I've
basically banished them from my life.
Skirts and dresses make me feel good.
They make me feel sexy and pretty. I am not a huge makeup wearer or what you'd call a girly
girl, so dresses and skirts are my biggest nod to femininity, aside from having long hair. I don’t
go all out with them, only occasionally adding jewelry or heels. But, even with sneakers, I still
feel good wearing a dress.
Only dresses and skirts feel breathable to me. Pants — even jeans — just don’t seem right on
my body. In them, I'm constricted and squeezed in, and even if I like how they look, which is
rare, I can’t truly relax because I feel encased like a sausage. Maybe it's because I carry a lot of
my weight in my stomach, but pants seem like they’re pressing on my bladder, or I worry I’m
going to pop a button. And, I imagine Spanx plus pants is too bulky a combination.
They work with the shape of my body.
Unlike Ke$ha, who wears dresses to showcase her legs, I’m actually the opposite. I'm short, and
my legs are not my favorite part of my body. I don’t wear dresses to show them off, per se, but I
think they best accentuate the parts of my body I like most and help to shape or disguise the
areas I don’t love. In fall, winter, and spring, I couple my dresses with a selection from my
extensive collection of patterned and solid tights. I do admit that I’ve never gotten custom-made
jeans, so it’s possible that if I did, I could find a pair that suited my body perfectly. However,
even if I did, they still would only be suitable if I remained at that exact weight. Which brings
me to my next point…
With many of my skirts and dresses, I can gain or lose about 10 pounds and still manage to
make them work. The tighter ones are less forgiving, but there’s still room for a bit of weight
fluctuation. I’ve found the opposite with pants, where I feel like I have to struggle to get them
on even when they do fit properly.
I have as many dresses and skirts as I do moods. I have frocks that are so short or revealing that
I tend to only wear them in the house; I have summery Yumi Kim floral dresses and a
beautifully draping purple Catherine Malandrino number that’s so soft, I want pajamas made of
the same fabric. When it’s cold out, I usually opt for heavier knits and longer hemlines (or
thicker tights), though, as jeans-lover Michele Zipp pointed out, sheer summer dresses can
easily be repurposed in the winter with a little strategic layering.
I travel frequently, and dresses pack easily.
When I had an office job, the preferred attire was casual, but I still wore dresses. They weren’t
all fancy, but they worked for daytime and nighttime. The other night, my boyfriend and I
hosted a dinner party. That morning, I mentioned that I was debating about what to wear. “It’s
not fancy,” he said. But, that wasn’t the point — I like dressing up, and sometimes, even though
I work from home and the only people I may see all day end up being my boyfriend and the
mail carrier, I like the thrill of wearing an especially fun or pretty frock for no reason.
This doesn’t mean I’m anti-pants for others. I admire women who can rock trousers and enjoy
wearing them, but I just don’t think I’ll ever be among their ranks. So, pants lovers, have at it.
I'm basically just leaving more for you!
The Gossip Fence
Transgender In The News
Traveling While Trans: An Airport Security Update
As of May 16, 2013, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has equipped all airport
scanners with Automated Target Recognition (ATR) software. This software still scans the
contours of your body under your clothes, but it doesn’t display images of your body. Instead, it
automatically detects objects under your clothes and displays them as yellow blocks on a
generic figure. From a privacy perspective, this is definitely an improvement, but ATR can still
flag items such as binders or prosthetics as “anomalies,” and this can still lead to invasive
questions and pat-downs.
TSA also continues to expand its TSA Pre-Check program—a voluntary, fee-based, prescreening initiative that passengers can apply to participate in prior to their arrival at airport
checkpoints. Participants will be able to use designated Pre-Check lanes and could be permitted
to choose not to remove their shoes, toiletries, laptops, light outwear and belts as they move
through security. While enrollment in the program does not guarantee that an individual will be
exempt from more invasive screening measures, it may decrease the likelihood of experiencing
a pat-down. TSA launched Pre-Check last year for participants in certain airlines’ elite frequent
-flyer programs, and for those already enrolled in trust traveler programs through U.S. Customs
and Border Protection (CBP), such as Global Entry. Starting sometime this fall, travelers will
also be able to apply to enroll directly in TSA Pre-Check by paying a fee (expected to be $85),
submitting a detailed application, and providing fingerprints at a designated enrollment site.
Again, this will not cure privacy issues with airport screening, but for trans folks who travels
frequently this is an option worth considering.
In addition to the existing “TSA Cares” hotline for advance questions about screening, TSA
now has “Passenger Support Specialists” available at airports across the country to help
facilitate the screening process for anyone who needs special assistants. This service is designed
for individuals with disabilities, medical conditions, medical devices, religious clothing or head
coverings, or other items or issues that can cause concerns or delays during screening. Of
course, many folks would like to move through the screening process without having to come
out or discuss being trans with anyone from TSA. However, for folks who have had problems
before, or have a medical or personal item or situation, requesting assistance from a
“PSS” (either at the airport or by calling in advance) is an option to consider. If you have had a
good or bad experience with these “PSS” staff, please let us know.
NCTE continues to believe that airport screening is too intrusive, for transgender people and for
everyone. In September, NCTE Policy Director Harper Jean Tobin spoke to a TSA
stakeholders’ conference here in DC about these ongoing challenges. NCTE will continue
advocating with TSA to make screening less intrusive, improve staff training, report complaints, and educate travelers. If you have encountered mistreatment or had a bad experience
with airport screening, we strongly encourage you to file a complaint directly with either TSA’s
Office of Civil Rights and Liberties or the Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil
Rights and Civil Liberties. For more information visit NCTE’s updated resource, “Know Your
Rights: Airport Security and Transgender People.” <http://www.transequality.org/Resources/
Covered California Targets LGBT Consumers
Covered California, the state’s independent marketplace designed to implement the Affordable
Care Act, announced a partnership with 12 organizations throughout the state to enroll LGBT
people in the new health care system.
Chris Brown, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center's director of health and mental health
services, said that the center was committed to “facilitate access to comprehensive health care,
reduce health disparities, and improve health outcomes of LGBT individuals across California.”
Brown said LGBT people tend to face significant health disparities and challenges with access
to health care, compared to heterosexual people. For example, LGBT people experience
disproportionate suicide rates among youth, and gay men are the overwhelming majority of
those infected with HIV (81% of the cases among men in Los Angeles County).
Lee also specifically addressed the changes the Affordable Care Act introduces for transgender
individuals, describing the changes as bringing on “a new day for our transgender friends."
Under the new provisions, Lee reiterated that being “transgender will no longer be a preexisting
condition,” allowing better access to hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery to
Why Transgender Inclusion Is Good for Business
While Congress continues pondering the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, business
leaders are brokering the reality of a fully LGBT-inclusive workplace. Supporting employees in
their efforts to be authentic, it turns out, actually improves the bottom line.
In 2000 only three Fortune 500 companies included gender identity in employment
nondiscrimination policies. Today, those policies have reached nearly 60 percent of the Fortune
500. All the while, more states and municipalities are passing laws that protect the rights of
These changes and the relatively brief time period in which they’re occurring indicate a rapidly
growing awareness of transgender identities and issues throughout society and, certainly, within
Corporate America. That's because the business case for transgender inclusion is solid.
Companies don’t usually become transgender-inclusive out of a desire to be altruistic: They do
so because they realize it’s a smart business decision that can ultimately augment the bottom
line in any number of ways.
Many of today’s most successful businesses are recognizing the value of transgender workers as
an integral aspect of larger corporate diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives. Human resources
and diversity professionals are learning that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be transinclusive; instead, a meaningful transgender component can readily be integrated into an
existing D&I program. Organizations are also discovering that transgender issues come with
nuances that require specific awareness and necessitate new changes to achieve an inclusive
Support group to help families of trans people
TRANS advocate Sally Goldner and ally Lyn McDonald are establishing a new support group
in Melbourne for families and friends of trans people who come out over the age of 25. Called
Transfamily, the group has come out of Goldner and McDonald’s participation in the Opening
Doors program, a leadership course promoting social inclusion run by Melbourne-based Inner
East Primary Care Partnership.
While Goldner has been involved in trans advocacy and activism in Melbourne for years, most
recently as Transgender Victoria’s executive director, McDonald’s experiences were as the
mother of a trans woman.
“From a distance it seems like, so what? But when it’s your family member it’s a different
story, particularly when they’re older… it’s a transition for us as well,” she said.
McDonald hoped the support group would help prevent families from rejecting their kids who
come out as trans later in life.
Goldner explained their decision to target the group at trans people over 25: “There is more
expectation built up around someone’s gender when they come out later. So for parents in
particular, that can be a shock,” she said.
“Yes, youth need support and seniors need support, but I think we also need to remember that in
some aspects the families and others around a trans person at any age are still needing a lot of
Opening Doors project officer Alex Mills said although the program has been running for five
years, this was the first time an LGBTI-focused project had come out of it.
Contact [email protected] for more information about the support group, which
plans to hold its first meeting in January.
Ohio mom accuses other parents of bullying her transgender daughter
A central Ohio woman says other parents are using social media to harass her and her
transgender child. Emily LeVan said she legally changed her daughter’s name last week from
Keaten to Keat to reflect her identification with the female gender and announced the move on
Facebook. “I was celebrating it because it was a big step for us, and a couple of people took it
upon themselves to berate me for it,” LeVan said.
LeVan said parents of some of Keat’s classmates at Highland Elementary School in Morrow
County wrote negative or derogatory messages about her daughter. “I am terribly ticked that
the parents are allowed to send their boy to school as a girl and put him in this embarrassing
situation,” wrote one parent, and another called her actions child abuse.
The transgender girl said she was teased by other children as she started her transition last year,
saying that she was a boy the year before. “I said, ‘I was a girl, and it’s none of your
business,’” said 9-year-old Keat.
School officials said they addressed the harassment immediately and have a zero tolerance
policy for that type of behavior.
Bringing Diversity to the Digital Realm
Finding LGBT representation in video games was once thought a bigger fantasy than the
playable quests of our favorite pixilated heroes. Thankfully, games such as Mass Effect 3, Fable
III, and Dragon Age II have broken new gaming ground by including same-sex romance
options for players. And now Studio Fawn, a small Los Angeles company developing its first
game, is working to level up diversity in video games by including a prominent transgender
character in Bloom: Memories.
Bloom: Memories is the brainchild of trans artist and game developer Dani Landers, one of the
four creative minds who make up Studio Fawn. The game is based on an unreleased graphic
novel created by Landers and is a beautiful artistic take on the action-adventure/role-playing
game genre that carries players through an epic journey following the theme of the “purest
love” — that between a mother and her child. Among the many striking characters introduced
to players in the world of Bloom is Ilana, the first representation of a trans person in the popular
In Bloom, players are introduced to Ilana after she has transitioned and is still struggling to find
her identity. While players will be unaware of the character’s conflict at first, Ilana’s story will
slowly unfold throughout the game as she grows and comes to terms with herself.
However, Landers admits that while she and her team believe strongly in the project, the
inclusion of a trans character in Bloom raises additional obstacles for the game’s development
and the future of the independent studio that is betting everything on its success. “Traditional
wisdom in the games industry says trying something like this will mean failure. We’re
gambling our futures and lives on trying to do something to bring change,” Landers says.
“Sadly, I've already had plenty of comments from people saying outright that they wouldn't
support a person like me for the sole reason that I'm trans.
Why Transgender Health Care Needs Are Not A Laughing Matter
In a recent opinion piece for the New York Times, Lori Gottlieb – a self-confessed Obamacare
skeptic – expresses her dismay about the Affordable Care Act by joking that under the law,
while she can’t stay with the doctor she likes, “if I need a sex change operation, I’d be
covered.” She does admit to feeling squeamish about making jokes at the expense of people
dealing with cancer, but “sex changes” are nothing but a laugh.
Any humor that trades off the experiences of people grappling with serious health challenges is
likely to be in pretty bad taste. But jokes that encourage casual disregard for transgender people
by reducing their real health care needs to a cheap punch line, especially just a few days before
the Transgender Day of Remembrance, are very poor taste indeed.
Even while seeking the same basic health care that anyone might need to fix a broken bone or
treat the flu, transgender people frequently encounter biased and inadequate treatment overage
for the health care services that transgender people need, even when those services are covered
for other subscribers, like mammograms and prostate exams. Fortunately, advocates are
working in states across the country, including California, to remove transgender exclusions
from health insurance plans. These efforts dovetail with the reforms that the Affordable Care
Act introduces to eliminate the worst abuses of insurers and open access to higher-quality
coverage for millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans.
Transgender people are real people with legitimate health care needs — not the punchline to a
joke. People should feel free to argue about the merits of the Affordable Care Act, but
demeaning transgender people as a cheap attempt to critique the law does nothing to move the
conversation forward about how to ensure that health reform actually works for the people who
need it most.
Transgender Teens More at Risk for Connecting with Wrong People Online
Transgender teens are more at risk for connecting with the wrong people online. Some of these
teens don't always have support from family or friends, so they reach out to strangers and the
wrong person could sometimes respond. Keri Abrams is a transgender woman who started to
transition from being a man to being a woman in her 50s. She says it's even harder for teens.
And sometimes they look for acceptance in the wrong places and from the wrong people.
"It can be very difficult," Abrams says. "Although the Internet has become a much more
reliable source of information, there are still people on the Internet that aren't who they say they
are, and they can present a very good picture to somebody that is currently looking at
homelessness. They've just been thrown out by their family. They have no friends. They have
nowhere to go." And that's where ROSMY comes in. It's a nonprofit based in Richmond that
helps LGBT teens.
"It's a place where they can make healthy peer relationships," says Director Beth Panilaitis.
"One of the things I see a lot with LGBT youth is sometimes when they walk through our
doors, there is no sense of hope. That young people cannot see a future for themselves and they
are not sure what that future would be like."
Gender support centre for children will increase services to meet 'huge need'
A unique playgroup and family counselling centre for children who question their gender is
preparing a significant expansion to cope with a surge in demand, amid high rates of bullying
and suicide. The Gender and Family Project in New York has become involved with 50
families since launching just two years ago with little publicity, and now struggles to meet what
it describes as “a huge need” from parents who find their children depressed and at risk because
of gender identiy issues.
The group plans to more than double its services in the coming year, including adding a second
parents’ counselling group and creating therapy support groups for young teenagers and the
siblings of transgender children. “Family acceptance dramatically decreases mental health
problems, school drop-out and suicide among gender non-conforming kids and we are seeing a
huge demand from children and parents for guidance here,” said Gender and Family Project
director and psychiatrist Jean Malpas.
Up to 80% of school children who display minority sexual orientation or gender expression face
verbal, physical or cyber harassment, according to research from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight
Education Network. The most recent National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that as
many as 41% of transgender people attempt suicide at some point, compared with 1.6% of the
He argues that children questioning their gender are best helped by a positive attitude from
parents and professionals from as young an age as possible – and are no more likely to end up
transitioning to the opposite sex than those forced to conform to gender norms.
Tighter rules on personal searches
Restrictions on when and where police can strip-search people are being tightened.
Under a new policy drafted by the Albany Police Department, the requirements for police to
justify a strip-search will be stricter, and strip-searching people in their home or business will
be prohibited except in emergencies.
There also is going to be a separate policy for dealing with transgender suspects.
"These are potentially embarrassing situations," Police Chief Steven Krokoff said, adding that
the department's new approach will help "keep the person's dignity intact."
If police deem it necessary to have a suspect remove his or her clothing, there are two
requirements needed to proceed: the person must be under arrest, and the police must have
reasonable suspicion to believe contraband is hidden on the person.
"You have to have both," Krokoff said.
From now on, strip-searches will occur in a tucked-away area of the station so others don't
accidentally walk by, and they won't be conducted at people's homes or businesses unless the
situation presents "a serious risk to safety," said Krokoff.
Transgender images on TV remain largely negative, but standout roles hold promise
Last year, in recognition of Transgender Awareness Week and the Transgender Day of
Remembrance, GLAAD examined the previous ten years of transgender inclusive television
episodes, and found that more than half of those tracked were either negative or outright
defamatory. Sadly, after reviewing the 20 additional trans-inclusive episodes and storylines
GLAAD tracked on television in the twelve months since releasing that report, we've found that
the ratio hasn't improved.
Anti-transgender slurs, language and dialogue was even more prevalent in the past year than
what was found in the previous report. Of the 20 episodes tracked, 75% (15) of them contained
problematic language - often spoken by popular or sympathetic characters.
On a more positive note, the transgender characters themselves were less likely to occupying
the stereotypical roles of victims of villains. Only 10% (2) of the roles were those of murderers
or villains compared to 21% in last year's report. Additionally, only 15% (3) of the roles were
categorized as victims compared to 40% of the roles from 2002 to 2012. This year, transgender
characters were also less likely to be depicted as sex workers; 15% (3) this year versus 20% in
the previous report.
By far one of the biggest developments in transgender characters this year wasn't on broadcast
or cable TV at all. The Netflix original series Orange is the New Black received raves for its
creative and diverse cast of characters living in a women's correctional facility, and among
them is transgender inmate Sophia. Played by transgender actress Laverne Cox, Sophia's rich
personality and backstory have led many to rightfully declare her a breakthrough in transgender
representation, and the show's many fans eagerly await her return in the upcoming second
- Though several CBS programs have been among the worst offenders this year, the network
should also be credited for creating perhaps one of the most unexpectedly welcome transgender
characters. On Elementary – a contemporary re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes – the classic
housekeeper character of Ms. Hudson was revamped as a transgender character played by trans
actress Candis Cayne. The new Ms. Hudson was an antiquities expert who agreed to help
Sherlock and Watson out with housekeeping duties while she mended a broken heart. She was a
multi-dimensional character whose identity and storyline didn't hinge on her gender identity,
and she is precisely the type of transgender character needed on television. GLAAD hopes that
Ms. Hudson will make a return appearance at some point, and has expressed as much directly to
network executives at CBS .
Hey, she was just a ho: Sick bid by killer’s lawyer
In a bizarre courtroom speech, a Queen defense attorney said the life of a murdered transgender
prostitute wasn’t worth much — and argued that her convicted killer shouldn’t be punished as if
he had killed someone “in the higher end of the community.”
“A sentence of 25 years to life is an incredibly long period of time judge,” John Scarpa said
Thursday as he asked a judge to go easy on his client, Rasheen Everett, for killing hooker
Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar in 2010. “Shouldn’t that be reserved for people who are guilty of
killing certain classes of individuals?”
Then, taking callousness to a new level, he said: “Who is the victim in this case? Is the victim a
person in the higher end of the community?” Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter
scolded Scarpa as he sentenced Everett to 29 years in prison. “This court believes every human
life in sacred,” he said. “It’s not easy living as a transgender, and I commend the family for
Everett, 32, was convicted of strangling Gonzalez-Andujar last month. They had met through
an ad, and he was allegedly shocked to find she had male genitalia.
The shameless Everett even chuckled throughout the emotional testimony of the victim’s
brother, Ruben Andujar. “The pain my family feels is unbearable,” Ruben had said. “It’s all
like a nightmare, and I’m still waiting to wake up.”
Butcher blasted Everett, who declined to speak when the judge gave him the chance. “The
defendant is coldhearted and violent menace to society,” he said.
San Diego State to offer certificate in LGBT studies
San Diego State University will offer a graduate certificate in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Studies next fall, officials said Monday. The advanced certificate is designed to
increase knowledge of sexual and gender identity and an understanding of cultural, historical,
ethnic and racial aspects of sexuality.
Courses in disciplines such as English, history, women’s studies and religious studies will focus
on “emerging subcultures and identities from a global perspective.”
The program requires a minimum of 12 units of approved graduate courses and will include
community service, internships and study abroad opportunities. Many post-graduate students
interested in LGBT issues, students conducting research and those seeking jobs in LBGT
organizations have already expressed interest, officials said.
The San Diego State program is one of a handful of similar graduate programs in the nation.
Third Cleveland-Area Trans Woman Murdered in Past Year, Prompting Concern
For the third time in less than a year, a transgender woman has been found murdered in the
Cleveland area, leading many to wonder why the area has become such a hotbed of
antitransgender crime. The body of Brittany-Nicole Kidd-Stergis, a 22-year-old transgender
woman of color, was found in her parked car on the 21200 block of West 25th Street in
Cleveland, outside a public housing facility, around 2:30 a.m. Friday, according to the
Cleveland Plain Dealer. She died of an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Just one day
earlier, the body of 52-year-old Betty Skinner, a disabled transgender woman, was found in her
apartment at the Deaconess Krafft Center assisted-living apartment complex. The cause of
death appears to be blunt force trauma to the head, reports the Plain Dealer.
This comes just a month after Andrey Bridges, 36, was convicted in the January 5 stabbing
murder of Cemia "CeCe"Dove, another Cleveland-area transgender woman. Bridges was
sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years.
Coverage like WKYC's does little to help police solve violent crimes against transgender
people. When media outlets fail to report the names individuals go by, they fail the victims in
another important way: They give potential witnesses reason to feel unsafe in coming forward,
fearing the same type of disrespectful treatment the victims have received. This hesitance
among those with information to come forward could lead to crimes like these going unsolved.
Police have not named any suspects in either of last week’s murders and are asking anyone with
information regarding the deaths of Brittany-Nicole Kidd-Stergis or Betty Skinner to call the
Cleveland Police Department’s Homicide Unit at (216) 623-5464.
Corporate America Champions LGBT Equality in Record Numbers
In what was a historic year of progress for the equal rights of LGBT Americans, corporate
America stood out as a true leader in the fight for basic fairness and dignity. Both inside the
boardroom and in the halls of state legislatures and the U.S. Congress, American companies
stood by their LGBT employees.
That commitment is measured, in part, by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate
Equality Index (CEI). This national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices
related to LGBT workplace equality found that 304 major businesses — spanning nearly every
industry and geography — earned a top score of 100 percent and the coveted distinction of
“Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.” “This will go down in history as the year that
corporate support for equality left the boardroom and reached each and every corner of this
country,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Not only do fair-minded companies guarantee fair
treatment to millions of LGBT employees in all 50 states, but now those same companies are
fighting for full legal equality in state legislatures, in the halls of Congress and before the U.S.
In addition to corporate America’s visible presence supporting LGBT rights publicly, the CEI
reveals record numbers of major businesses updating their non-discrimination policies and
benefits packages well ahead of federal mandates to support LGBT employees and their
families. More Fortune 500 companies implemented inclusive workplace non-discrimination
policies than ever before — 91 percent provide explicit protections on the basis of sexual
orientation and 61 percent on the basis of gender identity, a historic high. Sixty-seven percent
offer same-sex partner benefits, another record.
View the full report at www.hrc.org/cei <http://www.hrc.org/cei> .
Backers push ant-bullying bill in 2014 Minnesota legislative session
Members of the state’s largest teachers union, which represents 70,000 educators, were among
those rallying at Central High School in St. Paul for the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools
Act, which promises to be one of the most contentious issues facing legislators. “We are very
serious about it. It’s a priority,” said Education Minnesota President Denise Specht. “It should
have happened last year, and it’s unfortunate that it didn’t.”
Supporters of the bill say Minnesota’s current 37-word statute on bullying is too weak.
Opponents say that the proposed measure is overly expansive and that it could unfairly brand
some students as bullies.
The Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act would require schools to draw up detailed anti
-bullying policies and set up protections for students who face harassment, including those
bullied because of their race, religion or sexual orientation.
This time around, the bill appears to be high on a legislative wish list for Democrats, and is
backed by a coalition of students, educators, parents and groups representing students with
disabilities and those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
Comptroller to Audit NY Hate Crimes
ALBANY, N.Y. - The New York comptroller’s office announced Friday that it will audit hate
crime reporting statewide after a legislator earlier this year cited an apparent spike in such
Auditors will examine the state Division of Criminal Justice Services’ handling of annual
reports culled from police data. The DCJS report last month showed 720 hate crimes statewide
in 2012, up almost 30 percent from a year earlier. Most of the increase was in New York City
and Suffolk County, which had made changes in its reporting process.
"Hatred against people because of their race, religion or sexual orientation has no place in a
civil society," Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said. "We need to make sure police departments
across the state are reporting these incidents correctly and that they are being trained to handle
the crimes properly and effectively."
The audit is scheduled to begin next week, with results reported sometime next year.
State Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, requested the audit. He cited in August a
string of recent hostilities against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in the city
and a 27 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents statewide in 2012. In October testimony to
the New York City Council on Civil Rights, Hoylman said that through mid-August the New
York Police Department reported 68 anti-gay hate crimes this year, including 41 assaults, up
from 54 for all of 2012. "These crimes, which included two murders, are a shocking reminder
of the intolerance and hate still present in the city," he said.
DCJS spokeswoman Janine Kava said the agency will work with the auditors. The division,
required by law to issue the hate crimes report annually, has trained hundreds of police and
established a model policy for responding to and investigating incidents, she said. The U.S.
Justice Department said this week that it had reached tentative agreement with the Suffolk
County Police Department to enhance investigations of hate crimes and bias. The agreement
follows the 2008 hate crime killing of an Ecuadorean immigrant.
Medicare to examine ban on gender reassignment surgery
The Obama administration is set to re-examine the ban that prohibits Medicare from covering
gender reassignment surgery. The document from the Department of Health & Human
Services, dated Dec. 2, finds that the reasoning for the ban is “not complete and adequate” to
support denying Medicare coverage for transgender people seeking the procedure. The HHS
Department Appeals Board states the ban — which is codified as National Coverage
Determination 140.3 — “fails to account for development in the care and treatment” for
transgender people over the course of the last 30 years.
The next step, the memo states, is proceeding into a “discovery” phase for the taking of
evidence to determine whether the ban can be justified. “Current Medicare standards are based
on science from the 1960s, so it’s about time for a review,” Davis said. “Because the current
scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that sex-reassignment surgeries are effective and
medically necessary treatments for some transgender individuals, we are hopeful the board will
find the exclusion is not supported.”
Notably, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid didn’t put up a fight in response to the request
from LGBT advocates to lift the ban. According to the memo, CMS notified the board in June
that it wouldn’t submit a response to their request to lift the ban.
It’s unclear when the discovery period for reevaluating the ban on Medicare-provided gender
reassignment surgery will come to an end. Shawn Jain, a spokesperson for the ACLU, said his
organization doesn’t know when the process will be complete.
Transgender medical research and provider education lacking
As a result of the limited transgender medical training offered at medical schools, very few
physicians possess the knowledge needed to treat transgendered patients. This circumstance is
the topic of a paper in this month's issue Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and
Joshua Safer, MD, FACP, associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of
Medicine (BUSM) and Director of the Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program at Boston
Medical Center, is the senior author of the piece which includes guidelines for transgender
treatment and also references the impact of recently piloted teaching on the topic at BUSM.
There are approximately 900,000 transgender persons living in the U.S. These individuals have
a unique set of medical needs because their gender identities do not correlate with their
biological sex. Medical interventions such as hormone therapy are required to appropriately and
safely address the health of transgender patients.
"Because medically appropriate high-quality care for transgender individuals is not taught in
most medical curricula, too few physicians have the requisite knowledge and comfort level for
treatment of transgender individuals," explained Safer.
Safer is working to develop comprehensive transgender medicine training curricula for medical
students, physician trainees, teaching physicians and other health care professionals. to address
the specific biological distinctions of the patient group and evidence-based treatment paradigms
derived from that biology. This training program would increase access to safe care for
New Mexico becomes 17th state with legal gay marriage
The New Mexico Supreme Court has just ruled unanimously in favor of marriage equality,
making the Land of Enchantment the 17th state with the freedom to marry.
From the ruling:
"We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive
from civil marriage under New Mexico law."
"All rights, protections, and responsibilities that result from the marital relationship shall apply
equally to both same-gender and opposite-gender married couples."
The decision takes effect immediately.
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