America's Most Popular Transgender Resource and Shopping Directory!

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  ABGender  Resource

ABGender Home Page
Advice On TG Issues
Articles On TG Issues
Big & Tall T-Girls
BiSexual Resources
Blog Sites
Body & Figure Shapers
Bondage & Discipline
Books, Magazines & Videos

Breast Enlargement

Breast Forms
Breast Implants
Cosmetic Facial Services
Costumes & Role Playing
Dating & Personals Sites
Employment & Financial
Events For T-Girls

Facial Feminization
Fat Removal & Weight Loss
Feminine Apparel
Feminine Mannerisms
Feminine Voice Training
Fetishes & Fantasies
Fiction & Story Sites
Fingernail Products
Formal Clothes
Female to Male (F2M)
Gay Resources

Hair Removal
How-to Instructional Guides
Intersex Resources
Lesbian Resources
Lingerie & Underwear
Makeovers For T-Girls
Makeup & Cosmetics
Men's Apparel & Shoes
Pantyhose & Stockings
Passing As A Woman
Plastic Surgery & Surgeons
Salons & Spas
Self Improvement
Sex Change Surgery (SRS)
Sexy Clothes
Shoes & Boots
Sissy & Forced Feminization
Social Networking Sites
Support & Social Groups
TGNOW.com (our sister site)
TG & CD Organizations

Thrift Stores & Resale Shops
Transgender Therapists
Transsexual & Medical
Transgender Youth
Wigs & Hairstyles
Women's Resources

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New Voice Feminization Techniques -
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in Just 15 Minutes a Day.

Leading Speech Pathologist Reveals How to Use Your Voice to
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Highly Recommended

Now there's no need to get your ears pierced!!
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Cliptomania is an Internet store devoted to offering high quality fashion and designer
non-pierced clip-on earrings that are far better than costume jewelry.

These affordable clip-on earrings are excellent for us T-girls !

We offer a wide variety of more than 500 clip-on earring styles including Pearls, Hoops,
Big & Bold, Gold, Silver, Crystal, Chandelier, Beaded, Designer and Nickel Free.
We also offer Magnetic earrings like CZ studs.


100% Trustworthy

80% of all Transgender Women Make These Same Mistakes...
Over and Over Again!

Are YOU making any of these mistakes?
Check out these Free Videos to see for yourself...

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Ultra-Sexy Dresses, Sexy Clothes, Gowns, 
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Introducing proven step-by-step techniques you can use to
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How would you like to grow your own feminine breasts two or more cup sizes
WITHOUT the pain of expensive surgery or risky synthetic hormone pills?
Did you know that males can trigger breast growth by mimicking the
hormonal conditions of an adolescent girl? It's TRUE!

<---GO FROM THAT to THIS--->
Breast growth of 3 cup sizes or more have been reported using this unique program!

Let's face it, there are hundreds of breast enlargement companies out there,
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Extremely Popular!
Wanna Pass as a Real Woman???
Create smooth, porcelain-like skin by using these very special techniques...

Learn how to dress -- and pass as a genetic female --
from the most comprehensive feminization guide on the web...

You'll get over 170 pages with the exact information you need to
create your own perfect feminine image.

When you're ready to be a girl, what you need is a resource that doesn't just give you copies of
the same old information everyone else has.
You need real crossdressing tips and sound advice, so you can figure out how to:

Make up your own face by understanding that different kinds of faces need different methods.
You'll learn male to female makeovers before and after.

Create your own cleavage with my detailed step by step instructions.
You want to look fertile in order to enhance your feminine appearance.

Hide your ugly bulge even when you are in a revealing bathing suit.
You want your "genital area" to look smooth and flat.

Learn to dress as a female by knowing different styles of dresses, fashion tips and types of feminine garments.
Being a female is so much more than just putting on a wig, a dress and a pair of high heels.
You want admiring glances and compliments instead of rousing laughter.

Behave as a woman using the techniques that will make you ultra-feminine just like a genetic woman.
You don't want to come off like a biker when walking up and down the stairs, do you?

Walk like a REAL LADY using the feminine movements that will make you appear just like a fashion model.
Never again will your masculine movements blow your cover.

Smell like a real woman by using real female pheromones.
Don't let masculine sweat odor blow your cover. This will greatly enhance your feminine appearance.

Avoid common mistakes many crossdressers make which always make them look silly.

Get an idea of the results you'll gain from natural estrogen and estrogen alternatives.

How to be super glamorous
-- Envy those Las Vegas showgirls? Now you can appear as one of them
by learning my male to female makeovers.
You don't want to be just another crossdresser, you want to be seen as a real woman!

How to do your own fantasy makeover -- We cover how to do make your face to look like a normal woman.

How to make your new self into a sex goddess --
What to wear to look like that teenage slut that you've always had fantasies about
This will teach you to look like a Pamela Anderson!

PLUS:  How to develop your own Female Voice
that actually HELPS you pass in public, and on the phone!

I realize male to female feminization is an art, so I combed through all of my research notebooks so
you could have the most in-depth crossdressing information available anywhere.
This is something you just can't get from those free transgender & transsexual sites!

You too, can enjoy the feminine lifestyle and acceptance that I and others have discovered
by using the right feminization techniques.
Why work your butt off experimenting with bad information for small returns,
when you can become the ultimate foxy lady you've always dreamed of being...in only seven days?

A small investment today saves you from all of that frustration from
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Highly Recommended

Feminine Image Consulting
(also trains pageant contestants)

Tips for Passing as a Woman


The Transgender Companion (Male To Female):
The Complete Guide to Becoming the Woman You Want to be

by Jennifer Seeley

The Young Lady's Guide to Charm, Style and Femininity
by Keisha Clark

How to BE a Lady:
A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy

by Candace Simpson-Giles

Better Than Beauty: A Guide to Charm
by H. Valentine & A. Thompson

How to Live Like a Lady: Lessons in Life, Manners and Style
by Sarah Tomczak

A Guide to Elegance:
For Every Woman Who Wants to be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions

by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux

As a Lady Would Say:
Responses to Life's Important (and Sometimes Awkward) Situations

by Sheryl Shade

Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
by Judith Martin

Miss Manners' Guide to Table Manners & Eating Without Annoying
by Judith Martin

The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette
by Nancy Tuckerman


Etiquette for Dummies
by Sue Fox

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Etiquette
by Mary Mitchell

Miss Vera's Finishing School For Boys Who Want To Be Girls !
This is an actual legitimate crossdressing school for crossdressers!
Great textbook is also available with tips from her finishing school for boys who want to be girls.
Email:  webhostess@missvera.com
Also check out Miss Vera's popular new book: "Cross-Dress For Success".

List of Famous or Otherwise Notable Transgender Persons and Crossdressers


How to Look HOT in Your Femme Photos

Photos are a great way to share your feminine side with the world …
and they can give you a huge confidence boost as a woman.

But, I get it…you probably think you have to be born beautiful to look hot in photos.
Guess again! Looking great in photos is a SKILL.

Here are 5 photo posing secrets I learned while working as a fashion photo stylist in NY:

1. Create an hourglass shape
Never face the camera straight on. This gives your body a square, boxy look.

Instead, sit or stand with your hips facing sideways and twist at the waist so your shoulders face forward.
This creates the illusion of an hourglass shape.

2. Think pretty thoughts
The camera captures everything! If you feel bad about yourself, it will be reflected in your photos.

Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel attractive…
Tell yourself you’re hot or imagine that you’re a supermodel. “Pretty thoughts” definitely shine through in photos.


3. Go for natural looking makeup
Don’t pose with dark or sparkly makeup. Dark makeup looks harsh, while sparkly or iridescent makeup
doesn’t reflect light well in photos.

Instead, keep your lips light and play up your eyes for a natural, feminine look.
Use lots of powder since camera lights reflect shine.

4. Find your best side
Everybody has a good side and a not-as-good side.
Experiment with different facial angles until you find your best look.
(Note: a 3/4 view of your face is more flattering than a straight on view.)

Two more tips: Stretch your neck out to avoid a double chin and tilt your chin down slightly to make your eyes look bigger.

5. Keep your arms away from your body
Arms are a trouble spot for many TG girls. Posing with your arms pressed against your body makes them look even bigger.
Hold your arms away from your body for a slimming effect.

Have You Experienced This Transgender Problem?

How often have you seen this common scenario occurring?
A male-to-female transgender person goes through all of their required counseling and therapy,
12 month Real Life Test, hormone replacement therapy, facial feminization treatments,
body sculpting, breast augmentation, and full gender reassignment surgery...
just to end up a year or two later becoming severely depressed
and even having intense feelings toward suicide.

Believe it or not, that is precisely what ends up happening to
many post-transitional Male-to-Female transgender persons.

Are you wondering why this happens so frequently?
The actual answer may astound you...

The most common reason is simply due to the fact that MOST transgender people
spend an infinite amount of time and effort on changing and improving their physical selves,
but never give much thought or energy to
improving and feminizing their mental and emotional selves during that transitioning process.
Therefore, a large percentage of transgender persons tend to become little more than a...
"man going through life in a woman's body!"

Over the next several weeks, ABGender.com will be offering you a FREE course that will work to
improve your mental and emotional self, so you are better able to succeed happily
in your new life as a COMPLETE and confident woman...

For week # 1, my suggestion to you is:
Answer every one of the following questions thoroughly and honestly...

During the past 15 years since I began getting serious about my transgender aspirations,
I have come across literally tens of thousands of transgender persons.
Throughout those years, there was one question that I had heard asked far more often than any other
by people who were considering starting their transitioning process.

That one very simple question is:  Should I Transition to Become a Woman? 
While the question may be simple, the answer tends to be far less straight forward.

Naturally, whenever I've heard this question asked at the hundreds of TG support group meetings I've attended,
the majority of attendees shout out things like: "Yes, yes...DO IT!!  Don't wait, you'll be so glad you did it!"
Therefore, a support group meeting often tends to become not much more than a "pep rally" with little
genuine concern about this person's underlying welfare. And, so peer pressure to 'fit in' becomes
a primary focus...when, it really shouldn't even be a factor in the decision process at all.
Now, how certain are you that those support group attendees truly have your best interests in mind?

However, in order to constructively answer the question of whether or not you should transition,
you really do need to be able to answer this series of tougher questions that I always ask people...

Do you have a job/career?  Do you have a home?  Do you have a vehicle that is not yet paid for?
Do you have financial independence?  Do you have insurance?  Do you have respect in the community?

Are you 100% willing to LOSE ALL OF THAT???

Do you have any parents?  Do you have any children?  Do you have any siblings? 
Do you have any relatives?  Do you have any friends?  Do you have a significant other?
Do you have any coworkers?  Do you have an employer?  Do any of them have friends who know you?
Do you have anybody in your life who likes and admires you?

Are you fully prepared to betray, hurt and embarrass EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM???

Why is it you'll almost never hear gender therapists and support group facilitators
asking you those tough questions?

Now, I realize many of you may be thinking that these are not fair questions to ask
someone who is merely 'considering' changing their sex/gender. But the simple fact is, if we stay
 locked comfortably within the comfort zone of our own little fantasy world, and never prepare
ourselves for the potentially harsh reality that transitioning often brings, then...
 who is really to blame when somebody becomes severely depressed and even suicidal?

The hard fact remains, that until transgender people gain their universal respect and acceptance
throughout society, then transitioning may not necessarily be the wisest choice for everyone!

Yes, those ARE tough questions, indeed. But they all need to be answered before you should even
consider going down that long, winding, pothole-filled road into Transitionland!

Perhaps you might consider just cross-living for a while? That is, living in the female role without
beginning hormone therapy, just to 'test the waters' rather than simply jumping head first into the fire.

Robin's reasoning why so many transgender people tend to become depressed:
"We often get depressed when our reality does not live up to the expectations of our fantasies."

For week # 2, my suggestion to you is:
SMILE  (seriously)!

Transgender people are notorious for not smiling often enough.
Whenever you start to feel down or depressed, just start smiling!

Try this simple experiment:
Notice exactly how you are feeling at this very moment.
Then, start grinning a BIG SMILE (showing lots of teeth) and keep smiling for 20 seconds.
Now, notice how differently you feel after smiling for 20 seconds.
Don't you feel happier and lighter than you had just a few seconds ago?

This is caused by a powerful physiological release of endorphins (our body's natural pain killers)
in our brain that automatically occurs whenever we smile...
which boosts our serotonin levels, thus helping
us to feel happier.
Smiling simply makes us feel better whether we want it to or not.

I use this wonderful smiling technique everyday...like...just before I dial the phone,
I start smiling for just a few seconds. And that makes the entire call go much more smoothly.
Or when somebody cuts me off on the highway, rather than getting angry, I just smile at them.
Don't you think this world would be a happier place if we all started smiling more??

Try it, you'll like it!

"Smile, it gives your face something positive to do."  :o)

For week # 3, my suggestion for you is:
Feed The RIGHT Dog Every Day...

In the final issue of the now defunct Positive Thinking Magazine,
there was a very enlightening article that I wanted to share with all of you - titled:

"Feed The Right Dog: Eleven easy ways to cultivate positive energy in your life"
by Jon Gordon.

Let me share a simple story. A man goes to the village wise woman about what's troubling him.
He says, "I feel like there are two dogs inside me. One dog is positive, loving, kind and
enthusiastic. The other is this mean-spirited, jealous and negative dog.
They fight all the time. I don't know who is going to win."
The woman thinks for a moment and says, "I know who is going to win.
It's the dog you feed the most. So, be sure to feed the positive dog."

Each of us has a positive dog and a negative dog inside us. The key is to feed the right dog,
so it becomes bigger and stronger. And, always keep in mind that,
negative thinking tends to become addictive in all of us!
Therefore, each day we must make a conscious choice to feed ourselves with positive energy
rather than negativity. The actions are simple. We just need to make them a habit.

Here are some ways to feed your positive dog:
1)  Repeat to yourself with emphasis: "I LIKE MYSELF". This quickly builds your self-esteem.
2)  Practice Gratitude. It's impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time.
3)  Laugh and play. It's not just for kids.
4)  Listen to your favorite music, or play subliminal audio programs.
5)  Think of your greatest moment whenever you're feeling down.
6)  Start a journal making note of your successes, big and small.
7)  Get together with a positive, happy person.
8)  Call someone who has made a positive difference in your life and thank them for it.
9)  Engage in a random act of kindness.
10)  Read uplifting books, or watch inspiring movies.
11)  Go for a 'gratitude walk' each day, where you say "I am grateful for"
...whatever you see that you like and that brings you joy...
i.e. singing birds, pretty flowers, soft breeze, finding a quarter on the ground, etc.

Pick one thing on this list and take action today.
You'll be amazed at how quickly it helps you think and feel differently.

Your positive dog is hungry for some satisfying nourishment. Go on, FEED IT!

"Yesterday's thoughts have created your present.
Today's thoughts are creating your future."
James Newman

For week # 4, my suggestion to you is:
Change your thoughts, and you'll change your life!

Are you looking for the best way to change the way
you think about your life

All outer change comes from inner change.
You need to change your own thoughts first, in order to change your own world. 
And the most popular method of doing that today is with Subliminal Audio CDs and MP3s!

Subliminal CDs and MP3 files are the perfect way to change any part of your life --
with absolutely NO effort required!
Without question, your thoughts and thought patterns control your life.
Subliminal programs help to change your thought patterns at the deepest possible level,
thereby changing your life as a direct consequence.

To explain these in more depth, you need to know a little about something called "subliminal messaging."
Subliminal messaging is a method of sending messages directly to the impressionable subconscious mind,
bypassing the more critical conscious mind.
There are many ways of doing this, including barely audible messages, reverse messaging,
speed messaging, stereo confusion and other techniques.

The following subliminal CDs and MP3 files utilize the most powerful of these methods, delivering powerful,
positive affirmations directly to your subconscious mind using the latest audio technology.
(Please note that the actual affirmations sounds themselves are barely audible,
so they won't disturb your listening experience.)
Your subconscious takes these commands and uses them to "update" your deepest thought patterns,
and literally "reprogram" your mind with positive, new behaviors.

For example, you may use a subliminal CD or MP3 file for improving your confidence.
This program will send powerful affirmations to your subconscious such as "I am confident."
The subconscious will then begin using this new thought as a base reference point,
and change the way you act and the way you see yourself.

Highly Effective Life Changing Audio CDs & Downloadable MP3 Files...
Subliminal programs are one of the most powerful methods of self-growth.
They're scientifically proven, they require NO effort, the results are measurable,
AND you can even listen as you fall asleep!
Within days of using one of these subliminal programs,
you'll find your past issues disappearing rapidly----
and you'll be excited and soon ready to start on your next subliminal adventure!

Here are just a few of the 120 powerful titles we offer...

Declare Your Femininity
The following affirmations are used in this subliminal recording:
I am proud to be a woman!   I enjoy being feminine;   Being feminine comes naturally to me;
I am glad to be female;   I am comfortable with my femininity;   Every day I feel more feminine;
People admire my femininity;   I am relaxed about being a woman;   Being feminine is easy for me;
I am a naturally feminine woman;   I enjoy my femininity;   I am all woman;   I am feminine and proud!

You Are A TOTAL Money Magnet
The following affirmations are used in this subliminal recording:
I attract money!   I can make tons of money;   Making money is easy;   I know how to make money;
I make money easily;   Money comes easily to me;   Every day I make more money;
Money flows to me;   I enjoy making money;   Money is easy to make;   I am a Money Magnet!

Women's Ultimate Sexual Skills
The following affirmations are used in this subliminal recording:
I enjoy my sexuality;   I am happy to be a sexual woman;   I know what turns me on;
I know how to turn on my man;   Everyday I enhance my sexual skills;
It is easy for me to lose my inhibitions;   I am always learning new things about sex;
I find it easy to communicate my desires;   I love being sexual;   I am a great lover;
I know how to greatly satisfy my partner;   I am sexually instinctive;   I am a passionate lover;
I enjoy sex;   I am a sex queen!;   I am a sex goddess!

Other great titles include:
I am a Confident & Powerful Woman;   Increase Your Confidence With Men
Become A Total Man Magnet Enjoy a Slim, Slender Woman's Body
Beat Depression and Enjoy Life! Lose Your Fears Forever!
See Over 100 More Powerful CDs

These Subliminal CDs and MP3s really do work wonders!
I play the "Declare Your Femininity" MP3 everyday while working at my computer!


For week # 5, my suggestion to you is:
Pick a direction that MOVES you, and move in THAT direction!

A major problem I have noticed over my many years living in and among the transgender
community is, that so many Male-to-Female transgender persons never really manage to find a real,
meaningful purpose in their lives. And without a real purpose, they tend to wander around
aimlessly through life, never really making a positive difference in anybody's life but their own.
Just like one of my all-time favorite motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, says...
"You will never make it in life as a wandering generality,
you MUST become a meaningful specific."

One enormous benefit to having a definite purpose in your life is that...when you're truly focused
on making a positive difference in the world, all of these issues that would normally depress you,
just seem to 'bounce off' of you. Problems such as, society not accepting you, your boss and coworkers
being jerks to you, your financial situation hurting and many others all tend become rather petty and trite.
They just don't mean so much when you have a well-defined goal that will make a difference in the world.

The trick is, getting past your own petty selfishness, and throwing yourself into a cause that
moves you, and that makes you feel enthusiastic about getting out of bed everyday!
When you are "tuned into" a life-changing purpose that moves you, you will see that the
common everyday annoyances and pet-peeves no longer have any effect on you.
Why is that? It is simply because you are now focused on the bigger picture of your life.

Why is it, whenever I attend a meeting for one of the non-profit organizations I work with,
it is almost always the genetic females in the groups that are the ones who are typically raising
their hands to volunteer to help out with the various activities? Whereas (99 times out of 100),
the males avoid getting involved altogether.
If you want to become truly feminine, then you MUST be willing to offer your services and
GET INVOLVED in a cause that moves you!!  :o)

Another of my favorite speakers, Jim Rohn, often says...
"If you do not stand for something, then you will most likely fall for anything."

For week # 6, my suggestion to you is:
Whatever you want to happen in your life, ask yourself why it is so easy to have it!

That may sound a bit strange to you. But the simple fact is, your subconscious mind works just like
an Internet search engine. When you ask it a question, it searches for the answer.

If you weigh 200 pounds, and wish to lose 50 pounds,
don't say things like "I want to lose 50 pounds."
That will never happen for you, because your subconscious ONLY recognizes the here and now...
NOT the future!
And since your subconscious currently sees you as weighing 200,
it will sabotage all of your efforts to lose any weight.
Instead, you can make that far more effective if you change it to
"Why is it so easy for me to weigh 150 pounds?"
That way, your subconscious will SEE YOU at 150 pounds, and it will do everything necessary
to make 150 pounds a reality in your life!

Other common examples are:
"Why is it so easy for me to earn $100,000 per year?"
"Why are so many beautiful and desirable men/women attracted to me?"
"Why is my life so easy and rewarding now that I have become a positive minded woman?"
"Why do I have so many wonderful and loyal friends wanting to be with me?"
"Why is my entire life becoming better and more feminine everyday?"   Etc., Etc., Etc.

PLUS, if you repeat your questions over and over several times per day, it will compound your
results, thus making your wishes become reality in your life that much faster!
It WORKS....you'll see!!

Your motivational quote of the week...
"Why does everybody love me for the feminine woman I am?"


For week # 7, my suggestion to you is:
Thank everybody you care about and are grateful for.

Are there people you feel thankful that they have come into your life?
If so, then TELL THEM !!

Tell them something like...
"Thank you for dealing with and surviving all of the negative stuff throughout your life.
If you hadn't put up with all of that, you would not be such an integral part of my life today.
My life would not be the same if I had never met you.
I am sincerely grateful to you for coming into my life."

You will be surprised how endearing they will feel toward you.
Plus, it makes you feel WONDERFUL!!

Your motivational quote of the week...
You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are
the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love."
Henry Drummond


For week # 8, my suggestion to you is:
Start your own Gratitude Journal

Take 4 minutes everyday to write down everything you feel grateful for.
If you feel grateful for good friends, loved ones, pets, nice weather, etc...write them all down.
Everyday, try to add more new things, people, events, etc. you feel grateful for.
Do this for a while, and you will notice your negative attitude becoming completely positive in a big hurry!

Your motivational quote of the week...
"When you're nice to people, they want to be nice back to you."
Jack Canfield: American motivational speaker and author

For week # 9, my suggestion to you is:
Create an Appreciation & Depreciation Journal
Take a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle from top to bottom.
At the top of the left side, put the word "Appreciation"
And at the top of the right side, put the word "Depreciation"
Under Appreciation, write down anything that you see or experience that makes you feel good.
Under Depreciation, write down anything that you see or experience that makes you feel down or frustrated.

For examples:
If you've received a nice compliment today, write that under Appreciation.
If you were insulted or offended today, write that under Depreciation.
If you saw a rabbit or a bird, etc. today, and that made you happy, that goes under Appreciation.
If you were angered by another driver on the road, that goes under Depreciation.
If you made every green light while driving to work, put that under Appreciation.
If you hit ever red light coming home from work, put that under Depreciation.   Etc., etc., etc...

This awareness technique will show you how you can literally change ALL of your negative thoughts
into positive feelings with this one very simple (and fun) exercise.

Do this powerful technique for the next seven days or more.
What you will quickly discover is that, at first, your Depreciation list will probably be much
longer than your Appreciation list. But, after a few days, you will inevitably begin
to notice that your Appreciation list will become considerably longer than your Depreciation list.
And eventually, you will no longer see or feel anything negative at all...
Your Depreciation list will soon cease to exist, because you will begin to see a bright side
to everything that you experience.

Your motivational quote of the week...
"The shortest distance between two people is...HUMOR"

For week # 10, my suggestion to you is:
Make two lists...
In the first list...write down 10 things that you truly like about yourself.

In the second list...write down 10 things that other people like or admire about you.

Hold onto those two lists, you're going to need them later on in your life!

Have an AWESOME life!

Your motivational quote of the week...
"Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to
feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new."

Brian Tracy: Motivational speaker and self-help author

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Process of Change
Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where everyone was happy and whole...a world
where peace, balance and harmony prevailed...a world where patience, love and joy abounded?
What if everyone felt successful in their endeavors?

Problem Parents (parents of transgender children)
by Gianna E. Israel

Anyone who has been a member of the transgender community for any significant length of time
has heard the horror stories. Some of us have experienced the situation firsthand.
This article focuses on coping with the situation of a problem parent, one who says get lost after discovering their (adult)
child has a transgender identity or cross dresses.

It is emotionally devastating when a parent says "go away," or "I can't support what you are doing."
Earlier during their lives, many transgender men and women never imagined that it would happen to them.
After coming to terms with crossdressing or having a transgender identity some expected to be abandoned.
Sometimes abandonment happens, other times support comes when least expected.
Dealing with parents while coming to terms with our self identity can be a very frightening experience.

Adult children and their parents have unique relationships. Even though their children may be grown,
most parents do not stop investing their hope, caring and love into their offspring.
Throughout their adult lives children hope to have their parents available for friendship, guidance and insights.
After all, parents have traveled many of the life paths children are just coming to face during adulthood.
The absence of parents can be a hardship. Without them, adult children are left to seek wisdom from others.
"Adopted" parents can include friends, careproviders or other relatives. Sometimes more compassion,
caring and insight can be found from these persons, even though the relationship may not be recognized.

Introducing a transgender identity or crossdressing needs into the adult child-parent dynamic can raise concerns
that parents have difficulty answering. Did I do something wrong?
Will others judge me because my child has a transgender identity or crossdresses?
Is this just a phase that didn't get resolve during childhood? Parents also, like others, tend to promote their own biases.
For example, frequently I have heard parents make the statement that they won't see
their child become one of those people.

In most circumstances the adult child has more information about gender issues than the parent.
This is even so for newcomers to the transgender community. Persons in the process of coming out can share
how their feelings and experiences differ from non-transgender persons. At best, during disclosure a
transgender person would be well-served to not over focus on how disturbed they feel or how much pain they are suffering.
Instead, educated with easy to understand facts about transgender issues.
Having this information available helps portray that you are in control!
Most people do not respond well to dramatic scenes because it leaves an impression that the person who is unbalanced.
When disclosing to close family members, it is generally best to speak with a gender- specializing counselor
about potential approaches and possible consequences.

Parents can respond very differently to hearing their son or daughter has a transgender identity or crossdresses.
In my experience as a gender specialist I have observed that typically parents respond to this issue much
as they would other serious issues. For example, the parent who disowns their son or daughter because they
dropped out of college, may also disown after the child discloses his or her transgender needs.
However, many parents often only temporarily turn away until they have had a chance to sort out their feelings.
During disclosure some parents may not want to hear about it. Because this is such a personal issue,
transgender persons are well-advised to expect any number of responses during disclosure to parents.
They also should be mindful that situations change, and more parents becoming
accepting later than those who don't accept at all.

Being abandoned by one or both parents may come in many forms. Partial-acceptance sometimes can
present unusual situations. For example, I have many clients whose parents do not object to the individual living
in role part or full-time. However, at public or important social events the parental foot comes down.
Don't you dare show up at your sister's wedding dressed that way! Another example that is common is
for one parent to be partially accepting but refuse to allow the other parent to be informed.
These half-abandonment or half-acceptance situations can create a number of complicated situations,
and it is often wise to seek third-party advise on how to deal with them. For instance, imagine the difficulties
it would present if a post-operative transgender person was told that one parent was dying,
however the other parent insisted that this person not show up at the bedside with a new identity.

Complete or long-term abandonment by parents is something many transgender men and women might anticipate.
However dealing with the situation is possible. Early I introduced the concept of "adopted" parents.
These persons can change over the years, and even if the relationship is unrecognized it can be a blessing.
Adopted parents should be part of the transgender persons support network which helps provide
guidance and insights during time of need. Also, as adults children become their own parents.
As such, we are responsible for our actions and responsibilities. We are also responsible for nurturing ourselves
when parents no longer do so. When rejected we frequently must decide whether to maintain contact with
parents who have disowned us. Sometimes doing so regularly, such as with a monthly letter, can be beneficial.
Other times one is left to call into question whether parents who abandon their children, even as adults,
are the type of people with whom one would care to keep contact.

Ultimately, when dealing with parents who have abandoned, transgender men and women are left to follow their hearts.

Telling Your Parents
by Gianna E. Israel

Telling Mom and Dad that you crossdress, have questions about your gender identity or that
you are making a gender transition, each can be a difficult process. This article explores preparing for that process.
Before actually introducing the subject to your parents, there are many questions which are helpful to examine.
What do you hope to gain from disclosing? Most persons disclose to their parents with the hope that at the very
least their parents will acknowledge the issue exists, and perhaps be accepting or supportive.
Gaining this type of acceptance in many circumstances is not always immediately possible, particularly when
the parent responds with rejection, denial or indifference. Occasionally, when a person least expects it,
a parent may give unconditional support. Whatever you feel your situation may be,
before disclosing you should be prepared for a wide-variety of responses.

Is disclosing to parents actually necessary? Not always. Persons who share their gender issues with others,
in many circumstances are best served by only doing so when telling is going to increase the quality of the relationship.
While most persons recognize this when it pertains to friendships and co-workers,
they are not aware that sometimes telling parents about their gender issues may not be beneficial.
This is particularly so if the person has no experience talking about gender issues with others or has no support system.
Most persons disclose their gender identity issues seeking some type of validation.
This process can be a healthy part of defining one's sense of self, however it can also be misplaced depending
on the circumstances. For example, if a person's primary motivation for sharing originates in a desire to share
experiences and needs, than these are good things. However, if a person's motivation is designed solely to gain
emotional support in a time of crisis, they may find the parent so shocked by the news that little support is gained.
Additionally, disclosing during times of personal crisis may unnecessarily portray you as unstable.
In most circumstances it is best to first seek validation as well as emotional support from persons familiar with gender issues.

Generally, the more invested you are in incorporating crossgender elements in your life the more essential it
becomes to have a "support team." Utilize your support team to learn about disclosure, talk about your feelings,
hear about the experience of others, talk about your own and get feedback on your situation. Having done these things
you will then be better prepared emotionally to disclose to your parents. For example, you will be able to relay the fact
that exploring gender is a healthy part of self-development, and do so with confidence!

There are a number of other questions you may also ask. How validating have your parents been regarding you or
your siblings needs? How well do they deal with hearing difficult news? Also, what views do they hold regarding
matters of personal independence, and gender or sexual identity issues? Your answer to these questions can
lend important insight into how your parents may respond to your disclosure. If your parents have not been
supportive of your personal growth and needs in the past, that is a fair indication they may not be so regarding this issue.
If your parents are relatively accepting of persons having different gender or sexual issues, then they may so with you.
As you examine these questions, take time to find out how others have dealt with parents having similar attitudes.
When faced with the prospect of disclosure, many persons are uncertain how much information they should tell
their parents. Choosing how much to disclose can depend on several factors. These factors include their ability to
receive new or complex information without undermining relationships. Also, you need to take into consideration
your own self-interests, including to what degree you believe gender issues affect your overall life.

Examples of this process include a variety of possibilities. For example, a person who only intends to crossdress
privately on weekends may or may not disclose. Sometimes this depends on whether or not the person has concerns
about being discovered. Occasionally in these circumstances it is better to disclose on your own, rather than having
your parents find out through another source.

The transgenderist or transsexual who intends on living "in role" or making a permanent transition, obviously will need
to do more disclosure. If you are convinced that living in role and having surgery are the right steps for you, be cautions how
you portray these to persons not familiar with gender issues. In these situations it is best to inform others that living in
role are steps of a "real life test" which will help you determine which permanent changes are right. Clearly this would
include surgery. Disclosing information which portrays an interest in thoroughly thinking through changes shows good judgment.

As you prepare for coming out to your parents, remember that initially these issues can be difficult for others
to understand. Do not give so much information that your mother or father ends up confused.
Stick with the basics. Initially you might set the stage for discussion by simply stating you have been having
questions about gender or that you currently are seeing a gender specialized counselor. Once you are prepared to come out,
let them know how these changes will effect you and them. Invite questions. If you are uncertain what the future holds,
confidently state so and let them know you will keep them informed of developments.

If your parents are important to you then disclosing in person is preferable, doing so by telephone is good when
physical proximity doesn't allow face-to-face contact. You may prepare for the occasion by writing out your thoughts
in a letter. Write out your thoughts, edit and pass your letter past several informed persons you trust.
Try to avoid overemphasizing how anguish you have suffered or how desperately you fear losing them. Be confident.
Try to save the more unsettling details for a conversation after your parents have heard the basics.
In my practice I regularly provided consultations to parents seeking information about gender issues from an objective,
specialized source. You can do the same by providing your parents 3rd party literature that they can read about the
issues you are facing. Examples of literature include:
The Uninvited Dilemma (Kim Stuart) or Information for the Female to Male (Lou Sullivan).

Transgender Perseverance
by Gianna E. Israel

I remember years ago when I began my transition that there were days when the whole world seemed against me.
After adopting my new identity, people who had never visited my office before stopped by to socialize.
Curiosity seekers, this continued for several years. Often while passing through San Francisco's business and
shopping districts, on my way home from work I frequently was the only transgender woman I saw.
At times I received disparaging comments from strangers, homeless people, even gays.
On several occasions I was asked to leave both gay and straight business establishments.
The request usually stated we do not serve your type of people here. There have also been times I was spat upon.
Those early years were often very discouraging, yet I knew my self-identity was strong and I persevered on the
only path I knew. This article's subject is on perseverance, and several of its key components.
Perseverance is needed if you wish to be true to yourself and your goals.

Perseverance is very hard work. Its believing in yourself, your ideas and your goals.
Often in the face of criticism and other's disbelief in who you are and in what you are capable of accomplishing.
Perseverance is a commitment, a dedication to yourself and following through with your actions.
One of the key elements which is needed in order to persevere, is acknowledgment.
Whether a person is making a transition, coming out to parents, looking for a new job, or dealing with
a difficult challenge, it is extremely important to acknowledge the activity and process.

Sometimes during a challenge or crisis the simplest of tasks become extremely difficult.
At these times it is important to recognize our actions as persevering, because it may take additional energy
to stay with one's plans. Other times, if the work isn't actually difficult we may take our actions for granted
and not recognize that there are benefits to our work. As a rule people tend to be success-driven,
however there are often many reasons people show perseverance. As you develop plans it often helps to
question your motivation in order to determine if perseverance is worth it. Am I doing this for my benefit?
Am I doing this for others benefit? Do my plans have the potential to hurt others or myself?
What is the benefit of acting now, over waiting to act or letting someone else take on the responsibility?

In acknowledging progress or difficulties, do not be afraid to acknowledge when you are doing difficult work.
Doing so provides an inroad to recognizing that you will become accustomed to the work you are doing,
and that persevering will be worth it. When your challenges seem particularly difficult, remind yourself that you are human.
Do not wait around for other's permission, compliments or encouragement.
Feel good about your progress, and proud of the difficulties you endure.

During these feel-positive moments while acknowledging your limitations and successes, do not be disillusioned.
It is equally important to recognize that while you may become accustomed to following through with your plans,
one never becomes completely accustomed to certain types of difficulties..
This is particularly so when a person is persevering under discriminatory or oppressive conditions.
Therefore, if you should take on fighting against these factors in your life, acknowledge the fight,
but also acknowledge the feelings that go along with the process.

You can feel good about taking on a challenge, but also recognize when a situation is causing pain.
If you are dealing with a situation that is particularly painful or challenging, do not hesitate to seek help
in dealing with your feelings so that you move beyond the pain to complete your goals.

During counseling sessions I often hear people complain about the difficulties they are having,
and rightly so in many circumstances. Sometimes the changes we need to make or conflicts we encounter are not
a matter of choice. Such situations often come as a matter of circumstance. Transgender issues,
like many other issues in life, often present situations beyond our control. Fore example, we cannot always control
whether people will accept us. Therefore, when we persevere through difficult times we act with the hope of improving
our quality of life, even if it means being at odds with others.

Of the most common things I've noticed that people overlook is the role that not making choices plays when we
are persevering. For example, when we are in the process of telling others about our needs,
perhaps for the first time, we frequently forget what would happen if we did not make our needs known.
Instead people generally spend a great deal of time observing how difficult it was to come out.
Regrettably they often do not acknowledge that the effort was worth it because otherwise their needs wouldn't get fulfilled.

Choice also plays a key role in perseverance because as we encounter difficulties, sometimes we may wish
to re-examine whether our efforts are worth it. During this process it is important to ask yourself questions?
Are you willing to settle for second best? If your efforts do not turn out exactly as planned,
will the struggle still have been worth it? Will persevering now provide me the skills to take on bigger challenges later?

While persevering, if you are engaging in something you believe in, that is your right.
These days having the right to do or believe in something is often a much contested point.
Sometimes people take their rights for granted, putting themselves completely before others.
Other times people do not realize that everyone has innate rights as a human being, much like a human bill of rights.
This would include the right to make choices and accept responsibilities is ours for the taking, insofar as we make
every effort to not hurt others during the process. We also have the right to individual ideas and self-expressions,
as long as we do not trample upon others ideas or expressions. Feeling you have the right to be who you are
and pursue your plans play a key role in perseverance, because it provides self-confidence while you pursue your objectives.

I like people who persevere. They often having challenging stories and a vast wealth of ideas and experiences.
People who persevere typically take ordinary skills and change our world for the better, in both big and small ways,
instead of constantly complaining or criticizing. They also seem to have a unique ability recycle old ideas to
create new poetry which rhymes with current times. And, while improving their quality of life, often set positive
examples for others to do the same. If you look around our community, you should have no difficulty finding people
who persevere. In fact, if you look in the mirror, I bet you will see one there.
This article is dedicated to Larry Burton, Sr., who reminded me what perseverance is about and who inspires me.

My true-life Pretty In Pink Experience...

The following
(a true story) is taken from a conversation I had with a dear TG friend regarding the
admiration and excitement we always felt while perusing the many store catalogs
of women's clothing during our childhood years....

Here is my side of that conversation:

Yes, Gina, I understand quite well the wonderfully hypnotizing effect those 'diabolical' clothing catalogs
can have on such an impressionable, aspiring young cross-dressing enthusiast. I, myself, have been known
to purchase a few (thousand) skirts and blouses over the years.
Of course, today I only place orders online, so that I may take advantage of deep discounts available
using the coupon codes from the plethora of 'promotional code' sites.
Some of which are listed on my ABGender.com site at:  http://www.abgender.com/specials.htm

 Using those coupon codes on orders, I typically save 10-50% or get free shipping, free gifts, etc.

Anyway, yes, I can even remember falling head over heels in love with an amazing pink silk blouse from the
1976 JCPenney Fall Fashions catalog.
I can still visualize the photo of that absolutely stunning sugarbird pink silk charmeuse blouse today...
in all of its exquisite detail, just as if that catalog was sitting right here on my lap as I type this.

In fact, I loved that pink blouse soooo much that, for the next three months, I saved and saved and saved
every penny I possibly could, and did yard work for my neighbors (I was only 11 at the time).

And then, in November, once I finally had saved enough money, I rode my bike five miles through the cold,
snowy drizzle to the nearest JCPenney store, hoping to buy that very same pink silk blouse
I had dreamt of night and day for months.

However, to my surprise, by that late date, I'd discovered that the pink silk blouse I had so
intensely desired for so very long was NO LONGER AVAILABLE...

for the same price!

It was now on sale for a LOT LESS!!

I immediately grabbed that blouse in the size that I thought might best fit me.

After that, even though I had told the store manager that I didn't quite have enough money to get the
matching (long, slim, fully-lined) black skirt with the blouse, she must have noticed me earlier,
holding that skirt and blouse up to myself in front of a mirror (and drooling profusely),
because she asked me how much money I had leftover, so (with a tear in my eye) I reluctantly told her.
And, lo and behold, she offered me the skirt for that very same amount ($34 LESS than the price on the tag)!
I was in a delirious state of SHOCK!  My dreams were coming true!!

Then, when she later asked me if this was a gift for someone special, I rapidly fired back..."YES...ME !!"

I then proceeded to describe to her how long I had saved, and listed the numerous odd-jobs
I had taken around my neighborhood, just so I could get enough money to buy this amazing pink blouse.
 I also told her how I had ridden my bike all the way from (my home, five miles away) in this cold and miserable weather.
She said that she was VERY impressed with my determination and enthusiasm.

She then inquired as to what size skirts and blouses I normally wore. I told her that I didn't know for sure,
because this was my first purchase of pretty clothes.
Then she suggested that I take them into the fitting room and try them on to make sure they'll fit me.
Needless to say, I was soooo happy to finally SEE myself dressed CORRECTLY for the first time in my life!!
I was in complete awe of that indescribable vision I saw in the mirror!

And, as it turned out, it was a good thing I did try them on, because I needed a size larger for both the skirt and the blouse.

Following that event, I was 100% HOOKED on femininity for life!!
There could be no question about that. That was definitely my proverbial epiphanous "Ah-hah" moment.
Even though I had already KNOWN that I was SUPPOSED to have been born a girl at age 3.

Looking back on that fantastically liberating experience today,
I cannot recall very many treasured days as joyous and downright stimulating as that one. <grin>


Must I Always Pass Perfectly?
by Gianna E. Israel

One of the more highly coveted aspects of transgender living which receives a great deal of focus is being
able to "pass" while crossdressed or living in a new gender role. Being able to pass has its benefits.
For example, people use correct pronouns and terms of reference.
Also, a transgender man or woman does not need to worry about receiving second glances and unsolicited
comments. Passing simplifies life considerably for the person who only wishes privacy,
and it also reduces the risk of being victimized by persons who cannot tolerate difference in others.

There is also, however, a lighter side to the subject of passing. As both a gender specializing counselor and
transgender woman, I have the opportunity to hear as well as experience interesting events involving pass
or not passing. As a full-time counselor with a primary focus on gender issues, I am also in the
unique position of being able to call myself a "transgender spotter."
Without any doubts, I can spot the majority of transgender persons, even several blocks away.

This ability introduces a question. What distinguishable characteristics lead me to believe
I have spotted a transgender person? First, my ability to do so is greatly assisted by my location.
Like other major cities it easy to spot transgender people occasionally as pedestrians.
This is particularly so near my office, where within a 4-block radius at least one dozen transgender
men and women either reside or work. Transgender persons who live in areas with high numbers of others
with gender issues, should note that this makes them more likely to be noticed.
For example, in San Francisco I am noticed all the time because people are more aware of transgender issues,
yet while visiting New Orleans or Portland people rarely spot my differences.

A combination of a person's physical characteristics, body language, and clothing all play a key role in passing.
I call the embodiment of these elements "presentation." One does not simply get dressed,
hoping to pass by play- acting a part, one becomes a transgender man or woman.
Whether a person lives in the new gender part or full- time, pulling together an consistent presentation
greatly increases chances at passing. Furthermore, a consistent presentation is easier for others to understand.

One of the most common concerns transgender persons in the process of coming out have is the
concern that one or several physical characteristics may ruin a person's chances of passing.
In many cases this fear is unnecessary, particularly since as the individual focuses on pulling together more
and more details their presentation will improve. Generally speaking, people do not walk about looking to see
if others have big feet, broad shoulders, or are wearing a wig. Thus, if someone's overall presentation is
fairly well pulled together, there is a good chance they may pass and not even realize it.

There are a number of details a person can focus on to increase their passibility.
This includes learning the art of proportional dressing. For example, it is commonly known that round-shaped
women should avoid wearing mini- skirts. However, what may not be known by a person lacking experience
dressing as a woman is that wearing a shorter-length skirt may be possible if paired with a longer-length
sweater or blazer. Also, remember that large body features can showcase larger-size jewelry.

The art of building a presentation also takes an emotional commitment, which involves self-examination.
Does my clothing match my age, social position, and the occasion? Is it OK to dress differently than
other transgender men or women? Are my clothing colors conducive to feeling good about myself?
If I am spotted, is it OK for others to notice I am a transgender person?
Do I always have to dress as others expect me to? Does my appearance match my gender identification?

Making an emotional commitment to one's presentation is a unique and interesting process.
It primarily involves giving yourself permission to be who you are and allowing others the right to their
own perceptions and beliefs. As a personal example, a few years ago I was approached by a
husband and wife from Venezuela. After providing them with directions the husband complimented me in
the kindest of tones by stating that I was the most beautiful man he had ever seen.
As a transgender woman, I could have overreacted and became offended.
However, understanding that this couple may not have ever encountered a transgender person before,
I accepted the compliment graciously and explained that I lived as a member of the opposite gender.

Returning to the subject of transgender spotting, what most frequently leads me to believe I have
spotted a transgender man or woman is the body language and energy or chemistry a person emits.
At times a transgender person may put forth energies which are a mixture of masculine and feminine.
This is OK because we are transgendered. I have also noticed that transgender persons put forth a
more subtle energy which reflects their experiences. These energies can best be characterized as
empowerment, self-confidence, and an ability to survive. Our bodies become the embodiment of our efforts,
and our beauty shows when we give it a chance to blossom.

A relatively new dynamic concerning the ability to pass is choosing to be "out" or not making any significant
attempts to hide one's transgender identity. This dynamic has become more evident in locations where
larger numbers of transgender people live. These people are making a statement of being proud,
strong, and transgendered. They welcome people's curiosity, and do not mind answering questions about
their apparent differences from others. The nice thing about this approach is that one no longer has to
worry about being found out.

In closing, the experience of passing also has a humorous side.
Some years ago I was visiting my physician's office and was treated by a substitute doctor.
Without warning, this delightful woman suddenly turned into any transsexual's nightmare.
She announced that she was immediately stopping my hormone prescription.
I gagged! When I calmly asked why, she stated that my medical chart showed no records of having a
gynecological exam. Ha-Ha! Keeping my amusement to myself, I gently asked the physician
if she could put the chart down and look at me. After she did so, I explained much to her surprise that
I was a transgender woman and that a pap smear wasn't necessary.
She laughed, and I did as well, since I had assumed that I rarely pass.
The lesson is one we all can learn. Sometimes we pass and sometimes we don't.

Transition Frustration

By Gianna E. Israel

It is an eventuality that everyone encounters frustration -
and for transgender individuals there is certainly no escaping it.
My guess is if you have a transgender identity and were to make a list of frustrations you've encountered,
gender-related issues are somewhere on that list.

If you are interested in reading about difficult experiences that other transgender persons encounter,
the following are examples: -- Not being approved for hormones.
If this continues beyond three to six months get other professional opinions; --
Not being able to figure out clothing and make up. Ask your friends or support group members for help.
Also, seek consultation at department stores. The Internet is also a great source of tips.

Other transition difficulties involve family members.
Often a spouse or parents will have been told to too much, too soon.
This often occurs at the very beginning of transition before the transgender person receives enough
information to adequately manage the disclosure. In some circumstances the questions are relentless.
What is to be done?

One winning strategy is to figure out responses or answers that will buy you time.
This will allow you to consult with a gender specializing counselor, as well as understanding friends,
and gain a consensus of what seems to be the best approach in your situation.

Frustration during transition and beyond is just as likely to occur from internal dilemmas as external situations.
When this occurs, it is helpful to have a review of coping tools you can use to master the experience.

Just when it feels as if the world is caving in on you, that you are helpless to deal with matters,
that is the time to develop a strategy to regain self control. Some people choose to take a 'time out' from a
difficulties, others call a friend and ask for help. What may be most helpful, is to remind yourself
that most circumstances are manageable. In fact, it's highly likely that you've already developed that
skills to creatively deal with the situation, and it may be wise to review things that have worked for you before.

If you haven't dealt with a situation before there is a good chance an experienced, knowledgeable friend has.
Whether you or they have, it's critical to recognize when a situation feels overwhelming and may impair
your judgment. In other words, learn to recognize when you are least likely to make good, informed decisions.
For most people this includes time when one is extremely tired, anxious, depressed or isolated.

Being transgender there is also the likelihood that others, generally malcontent people,
will intentionally make issue of your being transgender. Often these are bullies who must pick on
other's perceived differences to make themselves feel bigger or better. And, there are also individuals
who will be more subtle by excluding you from activities and opportunities extended to others.

This type of harassment and discrimination can be very frustrating. Do not fall into the trap of believing
something is wrong with you. If you are harassed, decide whether it is worth your effort to confront the person.
Essentially, if you feel the chances of this occurring with the same person are high, tell the individual
his or her behavior is small and does nothing to reflect better qualities.
If you feel you are being discriminated against, such as in the workplace, consider pointing out your skills -
and reasons why you should be included or promoted.
If you consistently find yourself excluded or denied advancement opportunities,
begin developing documentation regarding this and discuss it with a therapist or attorney.

If one thing is certain, as a transman or woman you will develop a wealth of experience dealing
with frustration over time. Matters generally do get better for most people with time.
If you find this not to be the case, consider seeking short term counseling to learn how to deal with
anger management and frustration. Or, talk with several friends or colleagues and ask what
strategies they use to improve their situations.

Any effort you make to improve yourself can either be used to deal with matters or find a better situation.

Gender Mirrors
by Gianna E. Israel

Have you run into the gender mirror lately? What happened when you looked at your reflection?
Did you see a man, woman, transgender person?
Sometimes looking at our reflection can be disappointing, other times exhilarating.

A lot happens each time we look into any mirror. Certainly we see our reflection.
However if we linger long enough we can also see other things.
Seeing one's reflection can spark memories of who we are and where we've been.
This includes our disappointments and successes perhaps. Our reflection can also spark ideas about what
and where we would like to be in the future.

Many transgender men and women feel very dissatisfied when they look in the mirror.
Occasionally seeing the remnants of their previous gender role may make them feel regrets for what they
could not experience in their former lives. Some also feel bad about remnants of their old gender
because of others opinions. They may have been told that they didn't give their original gender role a
chance to work, and so try to fit in, making their life more difficult.

As a transgender woman I am quite pleased to have lived as myself, as a woman,
for many of the past years. Before then, for a number of years, I disliked looking in the mirror and
seeing traits of masculinity. However as my life became more settled I grew to enjoy seeing those
masculine traits as long as they didn't cause problems. After all, how many women could profess to
having both pretty and tomboyish traits.

Granted, I realize some people may view my reflections as different.
There are occasions when looking in the mirror can be acutely painful. For some, the gender may be wrong.
Or, perhaps a person's facial structure isn't as wished. Sometimes a person may just be having a bad hair day.
There are other reasons why it can be hard to look in the mirror. These can include some outside reason,
or possibly some inner hurt not noticeable by others.

Can you think of outside reasons a person may not like looking in the mirror?
If you are like many of my clients and myself, I bet you can list half a dozen reasons.
At the top of the list is harassment and persecution. It's sometimes hard to feel good while looking in the
mirror while much of the world is saying we look ugly, deviant, or should die. Those people are giving us the
message that they don't care about our feelings and that is emotionally devastating at times.

Some of the internal or inside reasons a person may find it painful to look in the mirror are easy to understand.
A person may not feel comfortable with their gender presentation because of its newness.
Or, the person may suffer from depression or lack of confidence. The fact is, it isn't easy being transgendered.
Building the self-esteem needed to feel good about yourself when the world is against you is very hard work!
There are a lot of issues to focus and think about before feeling good about oneself is possible.

One of the questions I encourage my counseling clients to ask when they look in the mirror goes as follows:
Is this a person I find lovable and respectable? If the answer is yes, you have a head start into asking that
others treat you with the same respect that you give yourself (and hopefully others).
However, if the answer is no, you would be well-served to keep looking in the mirror
until you can pinpoint lovable and respectable traits unique to you.

Sometimes it isn't possible to find an overwhelming number of lovable and respectable traits immediately.
I know personally, during difficult times I may have felt comfortable with my gender identity,
however finding other positive traits wasn't so easy. It took several serious minutes of reflection.
Sometimes I found it necessary to call a friend I trust and tell them I was having an identity crisis.

An identity crisis happens most frequently when you look in the mirror and say, who or what the hell is that?
Is that a freak? Is that a complete stranger? During times like this don't call 911! Instead,
remind yourself that you are not alone in the search for who you are. Everyone else does the same thing,
sooner or later, transgender or not. Take time to learn what is good about yourself.
Once you figure a few positive things out, tape a note or list right next to your mirror.
Think about what the list says, and become accustomed to feeling and seeing what is good about you.

I like self-identity mirror exercises. Perhaps the neatest one goes as follows.
Some morning before you put on your clothing and face for the day, take a moment to look in the mirror.
This nude reflection you see is who you really are. You are that much a man, woman, transgender person
and human. What I like most is that we can add to and take away from various presentations and appearances.
We are gifted with the ability to transition from wild and exotic to sensible and sociable in a manner of minutes
with just a change of wardrobe and makeup. Learn to recognize this flexibility in yourself.
Take into consideration the fact that the more flexible and willing to change that you are,
the more adaptive you will become while dealing with life's circumstances.

Can't Sleep? 15 Tips You Can Try
by Connie Saindon, MA, MFCC, CTS

In animal sleep, a sloth sleeps 20 hours a day while a porpoise sleeps half a brain at a time.
Birds do not sleep and rabbits and squirrels sleep 10-14 hours a day. People need a wide variation of
sleep and can range from 1-10 hours a day. There is more need for sleep at birth, while as we age our
sleep needs are less and lighter.

Sleep problems are a common symptom for people who are recovering from traumatic events.
One's usual methods for falling asleep may no longer work. Disturbing thoughts of reenactment,
rescue or reunion may interfere with one's sleep cycle. Nightmares and sleep terrors occur in
response to adjusting to shattered realties. Practice "Good Sleep Hygiene".

Here are some tips for you to try:
1. No reading or watching TV in bed. These are waking activities.
If your insomnia is chronic, it is not a good thing to do, says Dr. Alex Clerk,
head of Stanford Sleep Disorder Clinic in Palo Alto.
2. Go to bed when you're sleepy-tired, not when it's time to go to bed by habit.
3. Wind down during the second half of the evening before bedtime. 90 minutes before bed,
don't get involved in any kind of anxiety provoking activities or thoughts.
4. Do some breathing exercises or try to relax major muscle groups, starting with the toes and
ending with your forehead.
5. Your bed is for sleeping, if you can't sleep after 15-20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing.
6. Have your room cool rather than warm.
7. Don't count sheep, counting is stimulating.
8. Exercise in the afternoon or early evening, but no later than 3 hours before bedtime.
9. Don't over-eat, and eat 2-3 hours before bedtime.
10. Don't nap during the day.
11. If you awake in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep within 30 minutes,
get up and do something else.
12. Have No coffee, alcohol or cigarettes two to three hours before bedtime.
13. If you have disturbing dreams or nightmares add an ending that you want.
14. Schedule a half-hour writing about your concerns and hopes in a journal every night to free up
your sleep from processing your dilemmas as much.
15. Listen to calming music or a self-hypnosis tape for sleep.

If sleep problems persist, contact your physician or mental health professional.
Let them know what is happening in your life. Your problem may have either organic or
psychological contributors. Sleep disorders are classified as chronic if they persist more than one month.
There are of two major categories of sleep disorders.
They are Dyssomnias -- when there are problems with the amount, quality or timing of sleep and Parasomnias --
when there are abnormal events occurring during sleep stages.

Sleep difficulties can mean that their is an underlying problem that needs treatment.
J. Christain Gillin, M.D. states that most patients that have a sleep disorder have an underlying
psychiatric disorder. The different kind of sleep disorders include insomnia, hypersonmia-excessive
daytime sleeping, Nightmare Disorder, Narcolepsy-irresistible attacks of sleep,
Sleep-apnea and Sleepwalking. Let us know if these tips help you and also if you have one that works
for you and is not listed here.

About the Author:
Connie Saindon, M.A., MFT has been a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist since 1979.
In addition to providing services for Individuals, couples and families, Ms. Saindon is among the few
specialists in the field of violent death bereavement. Founder the Survivors of Violent Death Program
and volunteer faculty at the University of California Medical School Department of Psychiatry,
she is author of The Journey, Violent Death Bereavement: Adult Survivors Workbook and contributing
author of Violent Death: Resilience and Intervention beyond the Crisis.



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