The Crystal Cronicle


Vol 9 No 6, June 1997, Copyright 1997 by The Crystal Club, Columbus, OH, Sarah, Editor in Chief

Our Angels

These people have been so thoughtful as to assist us in our outreach efforts, contributing money to offset some of our expenses within the last year. We are very grateful for their consideration and honor them here:

Michelle deLingua (5/97), Ari (4/97), Bobbie Ann and her wife Margaret (4/97), Meral Crane (11/96).


CONTENTS

It's Time, Ohio! , by Sarah
Pride March This Sunday , by Sarah
Mary Ann Harris Advancing Transgender Rights at Lucent Technologies , by Sarah
Cathy's Corner , by Cathy Wood
Gearing Up for the Relay for Life , by Sarah
March of Dimes Thanks Us , by Sarah
Is SPICE Not So Nice? , by Cathy Wood
Harry Benjamin Standards of Care Revision: The Lowdown , by Becky Allison, MD
Sarah's Quick Tips , by Sarah

OTHER LINKS:

View Sarah's Pink List.
View Sarah's Shopping Basket.
View the archives of Sarah's Quick Tips.
Current Announcements (updated monthly)
General Information (updated as required)
Meet some of our members!
Visit The Crystal Club homepage

Find Articles indexed by newsletter
Find Articles indexed by subject
Find Articles indexed alphabetically
Links to other newsletters, support groups, and organizations

BACKFORWARD

Do you have any questions or comments? Would you like to submit an announcement or article for publication? Please email me.

It's Time, Ohio!

by Sarah, Editor in Chief

It's official! All this talk of forming a transgender political organization here in Columbus has finally come to fruition. I, Cathy, Carey, Mary Ann, Cait Ball (of Clothed in Illusions), and Dawn Marie Norwood (Editor, Paradise Tales) have founded the newest of about 30 chapters of It's Time, America! (ITA!). The name of our chapter, of course, is It's Time, Ohio! (ITO!). It's Time, America! is a national transgender lobbying group founded in 1994 by a few people who got together at the 1994 Transgender Law Conference (ICTLEP). The ITA! approach is one of achieving local, grass-roots victories which will likely set precedents for larger victories to come later. The organization is decentralized, such that ITO! will not be under direct control by ITA!. We will set our own policies and run our own show. The purpose of the organization is one of centralized communication and collective action. The primary focus of ITO! will be on lobbying at the level of our state government. We will make our presence well known to the 132 members of the Ohio Legislature. We will also focus very strongly on outreach efforts, such as education of teachers and community groups, participation in charitable events, and supportive outreach to our closeted transgendered sisters and brothers. With time, our mission may even include the expansion of the resource base available to the transgender community through active recruitment of professionals.

The ITO! Board of Directors will consist entirely of elected representatives from the regional chapters within Ohio (three representatives each). The first three members will come from It's Time, Columbus!, our own regional chapter. It's Time, Cleveland! will be likely to follow, probably along with It's Time, Cincinnati! (We have people in both places interested in It's Time, Ohio!.) The Board of Directors will then elect a Chairperson to run the show and a Secretary/Treasurer to handle the money. (or is that a Chairperson to handle the show and a Secretary/Treasurer to run with the money?). Anyway, the important thing is that no regional chapter will have any more or less power than any other regional chapter. That's important! I think we were all agreed from the outset that we did not want to be an organization dominated by any central figure or personality.

With respect to the Crystal Club, the benefit of ITO! is to offload all political activities from our support organization, so that it remains a calm, friendly, and safe place for transgendered people to meet and socialize. Moreover, because ITO! will be very visible in the community, it will likely become the first contact for closeted transgendered people. When these people call us for information, we can refer them to their local support groups (e.g. the Crystal Club). Thus, it will no longer be necessary for Ohio support groups to seek publicity in order to attract new members. Through this approach, ITO! can serve as a protective screen between the public and Ohio's support organizations, not only by intercepting annoying phone contact from self-righteous transphobes and gender bigots, but also by making it more difficult for any potentially dangerous characters to find us.

ITO! will seek publicity through numerous venues, including the WorldWideWeb, the news media, and public appearances. It will also communicate through its own newsletter, The Hourglass. (Cathy deserves credit for the great name!) The Hourglass will be a sister publication to The Crystal Chronicle, and there will be considerable overlap of material as appropriate. As you might have guessed, I'll be the editor of The Hourglass. It too will be available on the Web. You might want to check out the site, but there's not much there yet. The URL is:

http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/Heights/7977

At first The Hourglass will be available only online, since all of our founding members are online. As we become active and add members, we will probably distribute a printed version of the newsletter.

To kick off our organization on a proper note, Mary Ann will be traveling to Houston July 11 through 13 to attend the annual ITCLEP Transgender Law Conference, where It's Time, America! will be meeting. I had hoped to go too, but I didn't realize Mary Ann was attending. Only one of us really needs to be there, and I have too many things to do as it is. Among other things, I am the team captain for our Relay for Life team (now officially the "It's Time, Ohio!" team), which will be circling the tracks at the same time as the Transgender Law Conference. It's only right that I should show up! Pity, though. I would have enjoyed a trip back to my home state.

Expect great things from It's Time, Ohio!, folks! There are several battles we can and will win. With time, the CongressCritters will break into a cold sweat every time they hear the sound of heels clicking down the hall. We won't easily go away, and we will make our mark.

Pride March this Sunday

by Sarah

This week is GLBT Pride Week, and this Sunday, June 29, will be the annual Pride March. A few of us are planning on marching in the name of It's Time, Ohio!, along with the Unitarian Church. We may be carrying signs with the names of great transgendered people of history. It is likely that almost all the spectators will be quietly supportive. We can probably expect the same self-righteous jerk this year quoting scripture to us over a bullhorn, and we should be prepared to do battle with him. Our weapon? Humor. Think of your best tranny joke and save it for the march. Hey, does anyone have a bullhorn? I can imagine someone (perhaps Cait, woman of a thousand jokes) standing there barking tranny jokes at him while he tries to maintain his composure! At this march, image is everything. We should plan on presenting ourselves well and simply "fitting in." We should wear casual attire appropriate for a short march in hot weather, and we should all carry ourselves like ladies.

If this march is like those of previous years, there will be far more of "us" (GLBTs) than of "them" (spectators), so there will be lots of safety in our overwhelming numbers! Please contact either Luann (231-1368) or Sarah if you can participate.

Mary Ann Harris Advancing Transgender Rights at Lucent Technologies

by Sarah

In case you all are unaware, our own Mary Ann Harris has been working diligently with EQUAL! to develop transgender-inclusive language in their policies. EQUAL! is the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender (GLBT) advocacy group within her company, Lucent Technologies, the greater part of the former AT&T. Although transgender interests were included in EQUAL!'s charter, transgendered people were until recently underrepresented, such that all of EQUAL!'s policy was being established by the GLB community. Not surprisingly, there was very little in EQUAL!'s policies specific to or even including transgendered people. The GLB people were always quite willing to include such language, of course, but in the absence of transgender representation, it was not known how (or even whether) we wanted to be represented.

Enter Mary Ann Harris! Mary Ann is one of the few crossdressers I know who has the integrity and intestinal fortitude to fight for what she knows is right. I for one am very proud to claim her as one of our own. In an unprecedented show of transgender courage within her company, Mary Ann has "come out" to her colleagues and has become active with EQUAL! in drafting new transgender-inclusive language.

Her first step was to attend the national EQUAL! conference in Denver, Colorado in early May. Her trip was paid by Lucent, by the way. While there, Mary Ann learned the workings of EQUAL! while at the same time educating the EQUAL! people about the transgender community. Much of the purpose of her trip was preparation for the 1998 national conference, which will be held right here in Columbus. Next year, we can organize an educational effort with her guidance.

Mary Ann flew directly from EQUAL! conference to Washington, DC, where she met with Cathy and me for GenderPAC's Lobby Days. While there, we all lobbied for the inclusion of transgender-protective language in the Employment NonDiscrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA was originally crafted to protect gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people, but the HRC (a gay/lesbian advocacy group) actively lobbied to have the transgender language stricken from the bill. Of course the bill is essentially "dead" anyway. It's too bad the Federal Government lags so far behind Lucent Technologies.

Recently Mary Ann heard from Dennis Parker, Vice President of Lucent's EQUAL!. He had met with others in the organization to discuss inclusion of transgender language in the Lucent Technologies Equal Opportunity Policy Statement. Thanks to Mary Ann, it will happen! One of the largest companies in the US will now have official policies regarding nondiscrimination against transgendered employees. She and the EQUAL! people are currently hashing out the language, which will likely follow Dana Priesing's (GenderPAC) proposed language for ENDA. Way to go, Mary Ann!

Cathy's Corner

by Cathy Wood

Hi,

Another busy month! Several of us are in the process of starting up a gender activist group to be associated with a national organization. The name of the group will be called It's Time Ohio!, and its purpose will be to lobby the state for transgendered rights and to promote education of transgendered issues throughout Ohio. It does dovetail with the mission of the Crystal Club, and it's my hope that many of you will join us in this effort. Look for more details in this issue of the Chronicle.

We had our first meeting at the new Church and I think most of the people attending were impressed with the building. Parking was a bit of a problem because there was a U-2 concert at OSU that night and people were coming from everywhere and parking everywhere for that. This month there should be no problem and we are looking into another lot for parking in the future. A couple of people were concerned with the neighborhood, but that area has a large gay/les community and I doubt if there will be any problems. We can always walk each other to our cars after the meeting if some are still concerned.

Those of you online are now aware that the club decided not to run the ads for SPICE, the Tri-Ess related spouse support group. There will be an article with more information about this and my reasons for declining our support of them. It's a complicated issue, but I would not want the spouses of our crossdressing members to feel that they should avoid them. Please read the article and you'll understand the issues a bit better.

Last Monday I gave a "talk" to a deaf support group about being transgendered. They are a wonderful group of people and I had a marvelous time talking to them. They are not in the least shy about asking questions, and did they ever! I'm continuing to do these talks in an effort to reach more people so as to increase the level of understanding about us as transgendered people. Only by understanding will we achieve acceptance in society. It does mean that I am a lot more "out" than I ever thought I would be, but I do feel that every time I do this, we all gain a little more.

I do realize that some of the members are uncomfortable with the activist pursuits of some of the Crystal Club officers, so I would like to say again that the Crystal Club will remain focused on support and that your privacy will be maintained. No one is being asked to exceed hir comfort level. Those of you who would like to join us in our efforts are very welcome to do so, but those who wish to remain in the background should not feel there is anything wrong with that either. There will continue to be a need for a "safe" place for transgendered people here in Central Ohio, and the Crystal Club will remain that safe place.

Sarah and I went up to Cleveland the first of the month to a meeting of TransFamily, a support group for both transsexuals and their families that meets up there once a month. People come from all over to their meetings. If anyone is interested in more information about them, just let me or Sarah know and we'll get you in contact. The group is held at Kitten and Bob Gross' house and they really are a wonderful group of people. I got to meet another of my online friends in person there for the first time. It's always fun to meet someone in person to whom you been writing.

Three of our new people went to Cait's Clothed in Illusion before coming to our meeting last month. I know I'm impressed with Cait's work and that we'll see more in the future. Cait joined Sarah and me on our trip to Cleveland, along with Jackie Herkowitz from the UU church. The four of us drove up in Sarah's car, and wonder of wonders, this trip with Sarah didn't involve lost keys or stolen wallets or police cruisers! (just kidding Sarah!) We got there in spite of my hormone-impaired sense of direction ("No, no, my other right!")

Several of us will be marching in this year's Pride March. As per the wishes of some of our members, we will be doing this as individuals or representatives of It's Time Ohio! and will not use the name of the Crystal Club. I invite anyone wishing to join us to do so. I do plan to have some of our handouts with me, but there will not be a Crystal Club banner. The Pride March is a fairly "safe" place to be out, and anyone ready to go out a bit more than she has in the past should think about joining us. It really can be a lot of fun. If there are enough of us, maybe we can all go out afterwards for a meal together.

Our meeting this month will feature a Mary Kay representative showing us her products and offering them for sale. Please plan to bring a bit extra cash in your purses if you can and support her by buying some of the products. It should be a lot of fun. We will also talk about making plans for our annual picnic, and don't forget that we need to know if you are planning to go to Deer Creek this year. The deposit required for the whole weekend is $30. Don't forget that if you can't spend the weekend with us, you still can spend as much of Saturday as you wish for just the regular meeting cost. This has become one of our most enjoyable outings in recent years and I'd love to see most of us there. Jannie would appreciate anyone bringing some snacks or drinks for the meetings, let her know at janniea@hotmail.com.

See you there........ Cathy

Gearing Up for the Relay for Life

by Sarah

The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life is practically upon us. Be sure to mark July 11 -12 on your calendars! The event will begin at 5:50 PM, July 11, with opening ceremonies and the "survivor's lap". Then at 6:00 the relay will begin. There will be various things going on for the subsequent 24 hours. You can expect free food, prizes, entertainment, and even children's activities. I will be attending the team captain's meeting on June 25 and will be officially signing up (and paying the registration for) the It's Time Ohio! team. All are welcome to participate on our team, whether "official" members of It's Time, Ohio! or not.

The event plans have changed slightly since my last announcement. Rather than being held at the OSU Horseshoe stadium, it will be held this year at the Hilliard High School stadium. To get there, Exit I-270 at Tuttle Crossing and head west. Take a left onto Wilcox Rd. and then a right onto Hayden Run. Finally, turn left onto Avery Road. The school is at the corner of Avery and Davidson

For those of you who are interested in participating but don't think you can walk the track, there are lots of behind-the-scenes "volunteer opportunities" available. The ACS people will find something for you to do! That would be a wonderful opportunity for us to schmooze with the public, by the way. Perhaps some of us could distribute food or refreshments. What little I remember from Learning Theory (Sorry, Dr. Amsel!) tells me that we will be performing classical conditioning on the people there, such that they will associate transgendered people with good things like food.

People, we need donations for the American Cancer Society! I don't think we really want to look "cheap". So far, we have raised a grand total of $10 for the event. (Thanks, Grapevine Cafe!) We'll be collecting from our membership at the next meeting. I think most of us can afford at least $5 for a good cause. If we can collect $5 from 20 people, that will be $100. Compare this to our suggested fundraising goal of $1500. I hope also to collect something from our Pink Listed businesses. Considering all the free advertising they've enjoyed and the $1.50 we spend each month to send each of them a newsletter, surely they can cough up a few bucks to help us look good!

I also want to suggest another fundraising opportunity. It is the annual luminary ceremony. For a $5 contribution, you can purchase a candle to honor someone special to you who either has or has had cancer. At 10:00 PM on Friday, we will light the luminaries around the edge of the track. I will be lighting one for my mother, who died on a beautiful February evening over a year ago. My tribute will have special meaning, since I will be participating in the event as "Sarah", the daughter she finally came to know, understand, accept, and love during the final two weeks of her life. If you want to purchase a candle, please make an additional $5 contribution the evening of the June meeting. You may either place the bag yourself, or we can place it for you. If you wish, you may write something on the bag in memory of the person you are honoring, if only that person's name. If you can't make it to the event, just tell us what you want written on the bag, and we'll do it for you.

The Relay for Life promises to be a very moving event, and we as the transgendered community can feel very positive and proud to be a part of it. I hope several of you can participate with me. If you want to do your part in this event, please contact me by email or call Luann (231-1368). For more information, contact either one of us, or visit the http://www.localsport.com web site.

March of Dimes Thanks Us

by Sarah

To all of you who contributed to the WalkAmerica event, the March of Dimes extends its thanks. So do I, since I was the team captain! We raised a total of $72. That's not an enormous amount of money for a team to raise, but it does help. Hopefully someday gender identity disorders will be recognized for the birth defects they are, and organizations such as the March of Dimes will be working to prevent them. (Yes, we say we're "gender gifted", but do we really want our children or grandchildren to be "gender gifted" too?) Anyway, thanks for your help. Next year, let's plan on having a very large turnout of walkers and contributions!

Is SPICE Not So Nice?

by Cathy Wood

The Crystal Club recently received a request from SPICE, the Tri-Ess related support organization for spouses and crossdressers, to run their ad in our newsletter and to help them raise funds through an auction or similar event. After much soul searching I felt it necessary to decline the support of the Club. While SPICE does a lot of good for many people, some of their policies are simply not in keeping with our mission statement and fail to support some members of our gender community.

SPICE is headed currently by Peggy Rudd. Many of you are familiar with the wonderful books she has written about couples and coping with crossdressing, such as "My Husband Wears My Clothes". I did talk to Peggy on the phone for almost two hours about my concerns, and while I found her to be a completely charming lady, personally interested in my viewpoint, it was also clear the SPICE would continue the same policies that have proven to be a problem for many of us in the community.

These issues can be a bit complicated, so please bear with me. SPICE represents itself as a support group for the spouses of heterosexual crossdressers and the crossdressers themselves. Unfortunately, they do not represent themselves this way all the time. While there is nothing wrong with SPICE targeting a specific group and sticking to that group, the problem that arises is that in recent years they have informally, but actively, sought out the spouses of transsexuals as well. I know this for a fact.

Why would this be a problem? The problem arises from the way SPICE supports the spouses. SPICE advocates the rights of the spouse to determine when and where crossdressing is allowed in the marriage. It advocates putting control of issues such as hormones and other body changes in the hands of the spouse. This is not an issue with most crossdressers. It can help bring about compromises that make a marriage workable. However, it is the wrong approach when the partner is a transsexual. Transsexuals fight the need to transition sometimes for many many years, and when finally they come to grips with their issues, it is often a life and death decision. They are often at the brink of suicide. Handing over control of "crossdressing" at this point leaves the transsexual with only two choices, leave or die.

The decision to transition, as I can tell you from personal experience, is a very difficult one and is usually made with the help of a therapist who specializes in gender issues. It becomes a mental health issue at this point and no one, not even a spouse, should have the right to interfere with a health issue. The same is true of starting hormones. Again, a spouse should be informed of what's going on, but by the time a transsexual is ready to start hormones, there simply isn't much of a choice anymore, and the issue is a medical one.

SPICE does not see this. They treat the spouses of transsexuals the same way they do those of crossdressers. This is very dangerous. It could lead to the suicide of the transsexual spouse faced with either losing their family or continued lifelong depression. It may even have done so already. Most of the marriages of transsexuals do not survive transition. That is the sad fact. Some of them do, and those that have a chance should be given that chance. SPICE's program removes any chance there might have been. It virtually assures that the marriage cannot survive.

The other issue is also one of the treatment of transsexuals. SPICE events are billed as "non crossdressing". That means that the transgendered spouse is expected not to present female at the events. The reasons for this are even fairly sound. We all know how transgendered people love to show off their new outfits and SPICE events are aimed at couple and spousal support. In order for them not to become another TG fashion show, they have this policy. It is also so that the spouses who are having a difficult time adjusting to their crossdressing mates do not feel threatened. This is fine as far as it goes and would not be a problem except for the way this is interpreted.

If SPICE restricted it's self to heterosexual crossdressers as they claim to, the policy would make sense. They don't. They are involving transsexuals as well, and they have stated that even post-operative MtF transsexuals must dress male in order to attend with her spouses, spouses they have been actively seeking out. I know of a case where this is exactly what happened. SPICE representatives attempted to "recruit" a woman expressly because her spouse is transsexual. They so stated. They then told the TS partner that she must dress male in order to attend with her spouse. This was checked with national SPICE board members and confirmed. They were informed that the transsexual partner was not only transitioned and would be post-op by the time of the convention, but that all of her documentation, including her birth certificate had already been changed to female. The SPICE convention was in Pennsylvania that year, and even in the face of the Pennsylvania bathroom laws, which would have made it illegal for this transsexual to use any bathroom at the convention while dressed male, they still insisted that she dress male. Peggy Rudd also confirmed during our conversation that SPICE policy continues to require the crossdressing as males of even post-op MtF transsexuals at SPICE events and that the policy would not be changed.

This is so profoundly wrong that words fail me. This is total non-acceptance of a transsexual woman as a woman. This is against everything our community believes in. If SPICE does not want transsexuals to attend, they should make that clear, not enforce a policy that is a slap in our faces. No other group in the transgendered community would dream of taking this stand. No other group would be allowed to. This is the type of thing that we are trying to educate people about as a community, and it strains credibility to think that a group that considers itself part of our community could possibly take this position. This is why the Crystal Club cannot and will not support SPICE as long as I am president.

The solution is quite simple. All SPICE needs to do is to restrict itself to heterosexual crossdressing spouses and crossdressers and to admit publicly that they should not and will not involve themselves knowingly in a transsexual marriage. If they had been willing to do this, we would have supported them. They are not willing to do this. They intend to continue including transsexual spouses in their programs. They intend to continue "requiring" forced crossdressing of MtF transsexuals as males as a condition of attendance. They intend to continue slapping us in the face with non-acceptance of our womanhood.

Harry Benjamin Standards of Care Revision: The Lowdown

by Becky Allison, MD

[Editor's note: Becky Allison, MD, a postoperative TS physician, sent this letter to various TSs and TS groups over the Internet, and I am reprinting it here with her permission. It concerns the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA) Standards of Care (SOC) for transsexuals. HBIDGA will soon be revising their SOC guidelines. They are considering requiring two years of RLT (real life test -- living full time in the preferred gender role) prior to SRS (sexual reassignment surgery), rather than the current one year. Dr. Allison has offered input to the revisions committee and reports to us here.]

Hi Everyone,

The Harry Benjamin association meets this autumn in Vancouver, British Columbia. At this meeting a revision of the Standards of Care will be presented to the membership for approval. There has been a committee working on these revisions for nearly a year now. The composition of the committee has not been particularly sympathetic to relaxing the current requirements, but I am somewhat optimistic.

I am a voting member of HBIGDA, as is Anne Lawrence. We were not members of the committee to revise the SOC, but as two of the very small group of physician members who are actually transsexual, we were asked to offer comments to the committee. Which we did, separately.

I have been asked not to comment on specifics of the revision until the meeting, but I feel I should clarify some of the current position as I understand it. I am aware that there are individual therapists and clinics, specifically the Clarke Institute, who have favored going to the two year requirement. I do not think that this reflects the thinking of the majority of members. As it stood when I offered my comments, there was nothing in the proposed revision to extend the requirement to two years. If I go to Vancouver in September and see that they have added this after consulting with me, and if the entire HBIGDA should approve it, then my personal opinion is they will have started down the road to their own irrelevance. We TS's are not the confused, compliant group we were decades ago; many of us hold educational and professional positions equal to the HBIGDA membership, and would not quietly accept such a backwards step. Furthermore, of the several SRS surgeons I know, no one has been of the opinion that a two year RLT is necessary. I think a point would be reached in which the health care providers can decide "I will not be bound by standards which I consider inappropriate."

But as I say, I don't think it will come to that. One emphasis I have tried to make is on individualization of each case between the TS and the therapist. Some people need longer than others to bring their emotional issues to resolution. Some don't need twelve months. I would like to think my ideas will receive consideration, but I don't have any assurance of that. My expectation is the current twelve month requirement will be retained, with some language to allow for individual case variations.

I hope this relieves some anxiety.

Becky Allison MD

[Editor's note: The HBIGDA revisions committee has been working on the revisions for only one year now? Personally, I think they should be required to work for a minimum of two years before endorsing any permanent revisions!]

Sarah's Quick Tips

by Sarah

What is your optimal figure? This interesting tip comes to me by way of "Peter", my good neurobiologist friend from the "Coming Out to my Colleagues" article (December 1996). In his book, The Evolution of Desire, Dr. David Buss discusses the optimal female figure. That's right! This sort of thing has actually been investigated scientifically! Anyway, there seems to be an ideal ratio of waist to hip measurement of 0.7 which "optimizes" the femininity of your appearance. It's also commonplace fashion sense that your bust should stick out about as much as your bottom and that your bust measurement should be about that for your hips. That would mean that ideal proportions would be, for instance, 42-29.5-42, 50-35-50, 60-42-60, and so forth.

Has this ever happened to you? After you get dressed, you try on your brand new pumps, and they look great! Feeling pretty stylish, you descend the stairs, slip, and fall oh so gracefully on your bottom. Unfortunately, shoe manufacturers usually don't have the foresight to make their soles slip resistant, and they can be quite deadly on carpet. Of course you can wear the shoes around on rough surfaces, such as sidewalks and asphalt pavement, and after about a day of milling about, your shoes will grip the carpet quite well. Unfortunately, closeted crossdressers rarely would have the opportunity to walk on concrete or asphalt and would therefore be doomed to live out their short, treacherous lives sliding about their living rooms. The solution is quite simple. Just take a few minutes to roughen the soles with sand paper. Problem solved!

It is conventional wisdom is that you should carry a spare pair of pantyhose with you just in case you destroy the first. Most of us have figured out that the spare pair can be protected in a ZipLoc bag. Still, packing an extra pair is an easy thing to forget. Even if you remember, a spare pair can be bulky to carry in your purse. You can solve both of these problems by leaving a bag with one pair of each color you normally wear in the glove box of your car. After all, your car probably goes everywhere you do.

To help you "pass" in uncomfortable situations, carry a sanitary pad or some tampons in your purse, and pull them out briefly when you're digging for something. Besides giving you some authenticity, the presence of these articles in your purse would probably dissuade most people from daring to annoy you.

Some casual shoes have a thin layer of soft rubber on the heels, and that layer can wear thin fairly quickly. There's a product called Shoe Goo that will repair the problem nicely. It is available in many places where you would find shoe laces and polish. It can be applied directly to the bottoms of the heels to build the rubber up to its original thickness. I've found it to be almost as durable as the original rubber. It can also be used to quieten hard heels (if they're not spike heels) or to keep them from slipping, and it works quite well for cementing together any parts that have separated.

Shaving two or more consecutive days was a real problem for me. The gentlest method I've used until now has been with a blade, but after the first couple of days, I was usually in serious need of a blood transfusion! Why? When you have practically more hair than skin, the hair drags the razor beneath the skin level. I used to use a Norelco lift-and-cut electric razor, but I always ended up with tiny whiteheads whenever I would try to shave really closely. A friend of mine in Dallas has been telling me I've got to try a Remington microscreen-type razor, which she claims really does shave as closely as a blade. I was so impressed with her claims that I bought the razor! It cost me $35 for the cord version (Dual Foil 10). By dragging your fingers across your skin opposite the direction of hair growth and immediately following with the razor, using only light pressure, you really can shave below skin level without tearing up your skin. It takes a bit of time to do a good job, but not nearly so much time as it takes for dozens of tiny nicks to stop bleeding. I can now shave closely every day. The razor's usefulness doesn't stop there. It works wonderfully for shaving body hair -- better than a blade, better than a Smooth Operator, and better than an epilator if you have problems with rapid hair growth or ingrown hairs. It's very fast, and it leaves your skin as smooth as a baby's bottom.

Minoxidil (the hair regrowth drug) has really gotten inexpensive, now that generic versions have come out. When it was first released, Minoxidil cost about $2 per day, but two months ago I bought a two month supply for $26 (about 45 per day). I returned to Kroger yesterday to buy more and found that I could buy a two month supply for about $12 (about 20 a day, 1/10 of the original cost). If you don't like generics, even Rogaine prices have fallen substantially. You'll find Minoxidil available in two different versions for men and for women. Both are exactly the same formulations and are used in the same dosage. The only difference is in the color of the box and a few details on the instruction sheet, so you should buy whichever is cheaper. Does it work? Well, for $26 I bought a much fuzzier scalp. For another $12, the fuzz should grow and begin to get some color. For an additional $24 or less for the subsequent 4 months of treatment, I think I will have hair again! An initial $62 and $6 per month thereafter is precious little to pay for a head of hair.

Last month, I wrote about the wonders of Almay's Amazing Lasting Makeup, and I've gotten several emails asking where to find it. Almay products are found in just about any grocery or drug store, alongside Cover Girl, Mabelline, Max Factor, and so forth. I don't know of a mail-order source for our international readers but will report one here if I learn of anything.


Barb'n'Lisa Approved

1997 GLBTDVA AWARD

FOR WEB EXCELLENCE!

Copyright 1997 by the Crystal Club, all rights reserved. Articles and information contained in The Crystal Chronicle may be reprinted by other non-profit organizations without advanced permission, provided the author and source is cited and a copy of the issue containing the reprinted material is sent to the Crystal Club within two months of publication. The opinions or statements contained in the Crystal Chronicle are those of the authors' and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or the Crystal Club. Furthermore, neither the Crystal Club nor the Crystal Chronicle editor assume responsibility for any consequences resulting either directly or indirectly either from advice or from any other materials contained in this newsletter. Contributions of articles are encouraged but may be altered with the author's intent retained or may be rejected, whether solicited or not. Absolutely no sexually explicit material will be accepted or printed. Contributions may be emailed directly to the editor (for Crystal Club News Letter) or sent to the postal address below. The Crystal Club is a non-profit support group for transvestites, crossdressers, transsexuals, female impersonators, and other transgendered individuals. Spouses and significant others are welcome and are encouraged to participate. Both male-to-female and female-to-male individuals are welcome. Also, members from related organizations, helpful professionals, and approved guests are welcome when cleared through a Crystal Club elected officer. Club policies, meeting dates, locations, and fees are available on request through our address below. We will exchange newsletters with any other similar group. Send all correspondence to: The Crystal Club, P.O. Box 287, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068-0287. (614) 231-1368.


Click to see more great pages on Society.