The Crystal Cronicle


Vol 9 No 10, October 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:

Meral Crane (11/97), Michelle deLingua (5/97), Ari (4/97), Janet Marie and her wife Margaret (4/97).


CONTENTS

A Few Announcements , by Sarah
A Few Thoughts on Diet and Dieting , by Sarah
Selecting and Caring for Jewelry , by Sarah
New Gender Assessment Tool , by Karen Bayes
Sarah's Shopping Basket , by Sarah

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

A Few Announcements

by Sarah, Editor in Chief

The forces of the Universe have apparently conspired against me. Here I am in the 11th hour before my flight to Houston. It's almost 2:00 AM, and I still haven't finished this newsletter. I'm trying like crazy to get my email, because I'm sure Cathy's Corner is somewhere in it, but my Internet server is down. I could phone Cathy, except that it's long distance, and due to cash flow problems I'm delinquent with my phone bill, so I can't place toll calls. What a predicament!

Add to that that nobody has submitted anything for the Chronicle, news this month is scarce, and I'm out of time. I'm afraid this is going to be a rather thin newsletter. (Remember how I had joked last month that I'd probably end up putting this letter on a postcard? How prophetic!)

Anyway, I'll do a quick-and-dirty, strip-down, utilitarian version of Cathy's Corner, by way of making announcements:

First, the news: Mary Ann Harris, champion of transgender rights in the megacorp, Lucent Technologies, posted an announcement to CC-online that had been circulated in internal Lucent mailing lists. We largely have her to thank for what was achieved! The memo states:

Way to go, Mary Ann and Lucent!!

Of concern to our transsexual sisters, Jude Patton writes, "You may already be aware, last month Dr. Sheila Kirk and I were elected to the board of directors of HBIGDA. Dr. Richard Green, HBIGDA's president, has asked us to form a consumer concerns committee as a forum and venue for transgendered people and their SOFFAs to voice their suggestions, opinions and concerns about revisions of the HBIGDA standards of care, and about other health care and quality of life issues. Any suggestions sent to me or to Dr. Kirk will be reviewed by the consumer concerns committee and presented to the committee revising the standards of care, and to the voting members of HBIGDA."

You may respond to her at:

Jude Patton CMHC, CMFT, PA-C
The T Group
1812 East Madison, Suite 102
Seattle, WA 98122

E-mail: JUDEPATTON@aol.com
Phone/FAX: (425) 787-5094

The annual Weekend in the Park is scheduled for this coming weekend (October 24-26). The main meeting will be October 25 (all day, more or less). It's always been a fun event for all. Besides the great companionship of a lovely gathering of ladies, you'll have the opportunity to visit the crafts fair, go shopping at the Jeffersonville Outlet Mall, and have a nice dinner at the lodge. It's been a great tradition, and it's only $30/night (or $10 for just the Saturday meeting). Contact Dianna Mills at 75773.2543@CompuServe.com for more information.

The November meeting will be on the 22nd at our usual meeting location. It has been suggested that we have a discussion of the candidates for club officers in February at that time. I think that's an excellent idea. As Vice President, serving in conditions of communication blackout, I declare it so!

Dianna Brit has tells me that Fabulous Finds, a TG-friendly consignment shop in the Graceland Shopping Center, 205 Graceland Blvd., has asked to be Pink Listed. Their hours are 12-6 on MTuWF, 12-8 Th, 9-5 Sa, 1-4 Su. Call them at 436-1870.

Saturday, Nov 8 from 7-11 PM is Stonewall's annual Awards Presentation (kind of an indoor GLBT Pride!) Hors d'oeuvres, cash bar, dancing, multiple goodies, minimal seating, casual attire (slingbacks and flannel shirts welcome!). It will be at the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing and Cultural Arts Complex, 867 Mt. Vernon Ave. $15 for students, senior citizens, and low income and $25 for everyone else until 11/5/97. Then it's $35. Tickets are available at Stonewall Columbus (1160 N. High St. 299-7764) and An Open Book (761 N. Nigh St.)

A Few Thoughts on Diet and Dieting

by Sarah.

Hardly any adult on the face of this planet isn't concerned with losing weight. That is because no matter how thin one is, one doesn't consider one's self thin enough. At some point in their lives, almost all men and (especially) women have restricted or restructured their diet in some way designed to whittle off a few pounds. They look to those who promote themselves as weight loss experts for guidance and are willing to accept almost anything they say. It is not surprising that there are about as many lose-weight-fast schemes as get-rich-quick schemes. Both are grounded in people's desperation. Just like most of the wealth accumulation plans one can find are fanciful at best, so are most of the weight loss plans. A lot of myths have been perpetuated out of ignorance and greed. The purpose of this article is to take a more sensible look at dieting.

Many approaches have been taken to weight loss, but the inescapable fact is that the only way to lose weight is to have your metabolic expenditure exceed your caloric intake. I must hedge slightly, though, to say that you can achieve temporary changes in weight by losing body water. Most commonly that would be achieved with a diuretic (a medication that causes the kidneys to excrete more water). It may also be achieved by causing the body to sweat in hot environments (e.g. saunas). Some sweat-your-pounds-away schemes claim that they sweat away body fat, but that would be physiologically impossible. The only fat you could possibly lose through sweating is skin oil, which is insignificant by any measure. These water loss schemes have three things in common. First, they are unhealthy, except for people whose physicians tell them that they have a water retention problem. Second, they cannot result in progressive weight loss below a certain limit. Third, once the treatment plan is discontinued, the body very quickly rehydrates, and all the weight lost is gained back. In fact, when one loses weight through water loss, one often becomes complacent in one's eating habits and puts on fat, so that when the water is gained back, one actually weights more than before treatment began. Not all water loss is bad. A very healthy way to lose water, counterintuitively, is to drink lots of it. Heavy water intake serves to keep the body flushed out, "purifying" the bodily fluids. The lower the concentrations of waste products and other contaminants, the less water will be retained by the body. Another helpful practice is to reduce sodium intake, which in turn reduces water retention. The end result is better overall health, slightly lower weight, and lower blood pressure.

Probably the most effective component of any weight loss plan is the reduction of caloric intake. Unfortunately losing weight is not as simple as just eating less, as the body compensates for reduced caloric intake by reducing its metabolic rate. The common wisdom is that after one ends a crash diet, one will gain back all of the weight lost and then a bit more, just for punishment. It's actually quite true. Consider what the body is trying to do. It tries to adjust your metabolic rate to the highest level possible, given your usual caloric intake, thereby giving you the highest level of functioning possible. Above all, your body does not want to run out of fat reserves, because muscle would then have to be broken down for energy. That's a bit like burning the furniture and the woodwork to keep one's house warm. The human body is smarter than we think. (Well, it's really the brain that's the brains of this operation, but I'll call it part of the "body.") If we frequently go through periods of famine, the body will catch on and will adjust its metabolic rate downwards, so as to accumulate more fat and have a larger caloric reserve available for the next famine. That's a bit like stocking extra firewood when the guy who sells it to you often can't be found for months on end. If the supply of firewood or food is more regular and dependable, then not so much has to be kept on hand. The moral of this little insight is that the only reasonable approach to long-term weight reduction is to make friends with your body, negotiate a reasonable caloric intake level, and stick to that level. If it is necessary to adjust that level, it should be done gradually, so as not to give your brain the impression you are in violation of your treaty.

One thing that people often do to stabilize caloric intake is to spread it across several meals and small snacks throughout the day. Given that the average person on a starvation diet can lose about a pound per day, I'd say that's about the amount of fat needed to run your body in a day. Thus, a person distributing food intake evenly throughout the day would probably only require a pound less of stored fat than a person, say, who eats a large meal once per day. Of course the latter person's weight would fluctuate over a range of one pound, averaging 1/2 pound higher than the former person's. That's not an appreciable weight difference. I would speculate that once your body is acclimated to your eating habits, your eating schedule is not particularly important. If anything, I personally find it harder to overeat with one main meal and one snack than with three or four smaller meals and three or four little snacks. The most important factors are your total daily caloric intake and the regularity of your eating habits.

How much food is enough? How much food is too much? The answer to these questions can be found on the face of your bathroom scale. You should pick a target range from 5 pounds below your current weight to your current weight. Check your weight every morning as you step out of the shower. If it is on the high end of this range, resolve to eat slightly less over the next few days. If it is on the low end of the range, resolve to eat ever so slightly more. If it falls completely outside of that range, then you're doing something wrong. If you're on the low end of the range or under, you may want to take the opportunity to lower your range by no more than a few pounds, that is, if you really feel you would look and feel better at that range. If you do so, however, you have to stick to that range. You are not permitted to revise your weight range upwards. That's the law. If you break it, the Fat Adjustment Team (FAT) will send its SWAT division to your house ("Drop that donut and come out with your hands in the air!"), so before you commit to a lower weight range, you'd better be dead serious. It is by taking these small steps that you can slowly and steadily reduce your weight. I personally have reduced from a high of 153 lb to my current range of 130-135. I am currently considering dropping this range by a few pounds.

OK, so you decide you should eat less. What do you do? There are several helpful tricks. First, decide before your meal how much you are going to eat. When you've eaten that much, do not go back for more, no matter how great that lasagna tasted! Similarly, don't get sucked into the tortilla chip triangle. You've done it before. You crack open a bag of tortilla chips and start munching... and munching... and munching... and pretty soon the whole bag is gone. If you find yourself in a vicious snacking cycle, try this trick: Pull out a few more chips and set them aside. Seal the bag and put it away. Finish the chips you set aside. Then go brush your teeth and rinse your mouth to get rid of the chip flavor.

Almost as important as the quantity of food you eat is your attitudes towards food. First, you should only eat when you're hungry. If you're not hungry at your normal meal time, wait a while and then eat a smaller meal, so as to correct your eating routine. You should eat only foods you enjoy and savor them. Eat them slowly and with small bites. When it's time for dessert, go ahead and have some! It won't hurt you! I personally have a hard time ending a meal without something very sweet to punctuate the experience. Just don't eat a large dessert, and do not go back for seconds.

Your attitude about hunger can be very important too. It is only natural to view hunger as something bad. Certainly it is unpleasant by it's own right. Consider, however, that as one cycles between feeding and fasting, one stores fat and then retrieves it. If more storage than retrieval takes place, then one gains weight. The retrieval process is associated with hunger. Hunger is normal, and anyone who eats so much as to never be hungry is bound to have a weight problem. You can be better friends with hunger if you continually remind yourself that you are actively losing weight whenever you experience it. People go through pains of exercise to tone their bodies. The "pain" of hunger is much milder by comparison. If hunger is too much for you to bear, try sucking on some hard candy. They are consumed very slowly and give you a lot of satisfaction for only a few calories. A Lifesaver, for instance, has about 10 calories.

There are lots of myths about what you should and shouldn't eat. The biggest myths of all concern sugar. Some of these myths are as follows: Myth 1. Sugar is converted straight to fat. In fact sugars and fats are very different chemically. Yes, sugars can be converted into fats, but the conversion process is actually fairly slow. The sugar molecules must first be broken down into tiny fragments which are then linked together to form the long fat chains. Most newly formed fat is dietary, having been broken apart and reassembled. Myth 2. Natural (or brown) sugar is better for you than processed sugar. The only difference between brown sugar and white sugar is the impurities in the brown sugar, which are removed in order to make the white sugar. While the impurities add a distinctive flavor to brown sugar which I happen to love, they are also mildly carcinogenic. Thus, white sugar is actually better for your health. Both are equivalent with regard to the battle of the bulge. Myth 3. Sugars hit your bloodstream like a panzer division and then leave you stripped of energy. In fact, different sugars behave differently. There are three simple sugars in our diet: glucose, galactose, and fructose. Only glucose can be used by our bodies. The other two must be converted to glucose before they can be used. Galactose is converted very quickly and easily and is therefore the functional equivalent to glucose. Fructose, on the other hand, is very slow to convert, so it is almost like a "time release" sugar. Fructose, as the name suggests, is primarily a fruit sugar. It is also found in relatively high concentrations in corn syrup, which is a popular sweetener for commercial foods and beverages. Not only is fructose metabolized slower than glucose or galactose, but it is much sweeter, requiring only half of the calories to achieve a given sweetness. Foods and drinks made with this sweetener need not be feared. Other sugars are made from combinations of these simple sugars, the most common being sucrose (made of a glucose and a galactose). Sucrose is split apart very rapidly, and the simple sugar components are almost immediately available for use by the body. Thus, sucrose is a panzer sugar. Dextrose is another. Starches are less obvious sugars. They consist of hundreds or thousands of glucose molecules joined together in branching tree-like structures. Each straight chain is very easy to break down into glucose molecules, but the branch points take more time. Some cannot be digested at all by our bodies. An example of a more highly branched starch is rice starch. The extensive branching present in rice starch makes it a relatively slow-burning fuel. Wheat starch, on the other hand, has relatively few branches and is therefore much more rapid-burning. Perhaps the strangest starch of all is cellulose, which gives plants their rigid, crisp/crunchy texture. Animals are incapable of breaking down the special glucose linkages in cellulose; however, certain bacteria hosted in the stomachs of other animals (e.g. cows) are able to liberate the glucose molecules, making them available for their hosts.

People often ask me what sorts of foods make up a healthy diet. I think common sense should prevail here. These things are bad: preservatives, food coloring, most artificial food ingredients (in my opinion), fat, excessive salt, and other things that common sense tells you to question. These things are good: fruits, vegetables, natural/organic ingredients, protein in moderation, clean-burning fuels such as starches (e.g. potato starch), and other things that nature intended us to eat. Basically, if Grandma would have approved of its use, it's probably good. If not, it's probably bad. The only qualification here is that Grandma probably cooked with a bit too much fat and cholesterol. Vegetable oils are good, and the thinner and less appetizing they are, the better they are for you. While margarine was once thought to be a healthy, no-cholesterol alternative to butter, we are no longer so certain whether this is true. Personally, I use butter -- in moderation. Wherever possible, don't use the yolks of eggs, which contain cholesterol. (You'd be surprised how much better desserts turn out when they're omitted!). Above all, eat sensibly. Any diet that Grandma would consider "weird" is probably not a great idea. Eat a healthy variety of foods. Not every meal has to be perfectly balanced, with all the major food groups. Just try to hit all the food groups within the course of a day or two, and trust your body to sort everything out. (It's very good at that.) Just try to eat with more sensibility, less gluttany, and more consistency, and your weight problems should fall under control -- and stay under control.

Selecting and Caring for Jewelry

by Sarah

As a rule I don't wear a lot of jewelry, unless I'm trying to achieve some special look. I usually limit what I wear to earrings, a watch, a ring, and maybe a bangle. I think that a few well-chosen pieces of jewelry can be very flattering, but only if they are well made and well maintained. The common wisdom that "you get what you pay for" is especially true for jewelry. Nothing looks more elegant than a finely crafted piece of jewelry, and nothing looks worse than a 50 special from Odd Lots. Even if the differences aren't glaringly obvious at first, they soon become so. A fine piece of jewelry can survive a century of use and still be every bit as elegant as the day it was crafted, if not more so. Moreover, it will have appreciated in value. A cheap piece of costume jewelry may survive a few years of use before it starts looking awful, at which time you'll be lucky to have a little girl pick it out of a "free" box at your next garage sale. I'm not saying you should never buy costume jewelry. I own a lot of it myself. One should buy fine jewelry for the staple items that one anticipates will get a lot of wear. Rings are a good example, simply because they take the biggest beating of any type of jewelry. Chains are another example, since they are timeless and will be useful for the remainder of your life for holding pendants or for gracing your neck by themselves. On the other hand, you should never invest larger sums of money in trendy items such as "Y" necklaces or chokers, since you will not be wearing them after they go out of style (or after you grow older). Costume jewelry is also a wise choice when you are experimenting to find your style. A few dollars is little to pay to try out a new look. If you wear the item enough to wear it out, if it works well for you, and if you think you would wear it for a long time to come, it is probably worth replacing it with a piece of fine jewelry of the same style. There are several things one must know when selecting a piece of fine jewelry.

Solid gold jewelry is always made of a gold alloy (mixture), and the percentage content of the gold is indicated by its karat (kt) value. This value will be stamped on the inside of a ring band, the clasp of a necklace, chain, or bracelet, or somewhere around the post/clip of an earring. Jewelry that is not stamped is plated, not solid. The gold alloy of least gold content is 10 kt, which is 42% gold. Increasing in percentage gold are 14 kt (58%), 18 kt (75%), and 22 kt (92.5%), sometimes indicated by stampings of 585, 750, and 925, respectively. Pure gold would be 24 kt; however manufacture of pure gold jewelry is problematic and is almost never done. Lower gold content alloys are not always a bad thing, as they are also harder and less susceptible to damage. Many rings are made of 10 kt gold when they are to be worn on a daily basis under harsh conditions. That is probably the reason my college class ring (which is the same ring style and type for everybody from my college) is available only in 10 kt gold. The problem with 10 kt gold is that it looks anemic. A much better formulation is 14 kt, which has a slightly richer appearance while still maintaining considerable hardness. It is the favorite formulation for Western jewelry and is ideal for setting stones. (One does not want an expensive diamond in a soft, easily damaged setting.) There are two types of 14 kt gold -- standard and white. White 14 kt gold is particularly hard and is therefore well suited for stone settings. Moreover, the silver coloration accentuates diamonds quite well, even making them appear larger. Often a 14 kt white gold stone setting will be attached to a standard 14 kt gold ring, combining the best properties of both alloys. The richest alloy available in the West is 18 kt. It has darker, warmer appearance and has reasonable hardness and durability. It is not commonly used for mounting precious stones, however; 14 kt gold is much better suited for that purpose. In the Far East, one can only find 18 kt and 22 kt gold. The 22 kt jewelry is most common and is sold by weight for little more than the price of the gold.

Solid gold jewelry is nice to have, but often one can afford only plated jewelry. Not all plated jewelry is bad. Sometimes the 22 kt gold plate over sterling silver can be quite durable, provided it is very thick. The quality and thickness of the plating is usually indicated by the quality of the finish. If the surface is slightly bumpy or pitted, the manufacturing was probably done cheaply and quickly, probably with the minimum gold plating that would be necessary. If the surface is gleaming and smooth, that indicates at least that the underlying metal was polished prior to plating. If there are minuscule marks from polishing abrasive, that usually indicates a higher quality of jewelry with a very thick plating. After all, no manufacturer would polish the gold plating unless it were fairly thick.

Silver jewelry is another story. Silver plated jewelry is always of an inferior quality, as the base metal is always some inferior alloy. Silver is not an expensive metal and is very easy to work. As a result, sterling (solid) silver is quite common and very affordable. If it is adequately maintained, it can last many lifetimes, unlike silver plate jewelry, which might last a few years before the dull base metal shows through. While silver is also alloyed for strength, it is almost always fairly pure at 92.5%. Sterling silver is indicated on small pieces, such as jewelry, with the stamping, "925," and on larger, non-jewelry items with the stamping, "sterling". Sometimes lower concentration alloys are used so as to retard tarnishing and increase strength. Jewelry made of these alloys is usually of fairly good quality and will prove to be very durable. On the other hand, these alloys are often used more generously, so the castings are usually thicker and heavier, making them less comfortable to wear. Higher quality jewelry made of lower content alloys is usually not stamped, but its surface will usually be polished gleamingly smooth with a fine abrasive, which leaves its tell-tale marks.

Gem stones require considerably more expertise to assess; however, almost anyone can follow a few of the guidelines. To inspect a stone, it is often helpful to get it away from the tiny incandescent lights that jewelers use to make all their stones appear more glittery. Fluorescent lighting or natural daylight are both good, as is indirect lighting. Almost any stone will glitter under the right light. You should be interested in assessing other aspects of the stone. First, inspect the stone for clarity. Does it have any clouding or other visible imperfections inside? Second, look at its color. The more blue a diamond is, the more valuable it is. A lighter sapphire is more valuable, as is a darker ruby. Finally, examine light reflections off of the facets. The facets should have sharp edges and should be uniformly cut and symmetrical. Some particularly bad stones will have surface imperfections visible to the naked eye. Synthetic stones, while less valuable, are often quite good. Synthetic rubies and sapphires are chemically identical, I believe, to the real thing. Cubic zirconia look too glittery to me to be diamonds, but I think they're very pretty stones in their own right.

To look its best, jewelry needs regular care. It should be cleaned regularly, either with a detergent (or liquid hand soap) or alcohol. Gemstones in particular must be clean to sparkle, both on their face and behind the setting. An old toothbrush makes a very good tool for cleaning out the gem settings and other intricate spots. Plated jewelry must be dried immediately in order to avoid surface corrosion (and should never be allowed to remain wet while being worn). Use only alcohol to wash jewelry with closed-back stone settings (i.e. in which the underside of the stone is not visible. Pearls and opals should never be washed, as the skin oils they absorb give them their warmth and luster.

Jewelry also needs periodic polishing, even if it is gold. Gold jewelry is best polished with a piece of sand-washed silk or the backside of a soft piece of leather or suede. If it is dulled from heavy use, such as with a wedding ring, a fine abrasive may be used to restore the sheen (see below). Abrasives should never be used, however, on gold plated jewelry.

Polishing silver jewelry is a bit of an art, as some degree of tarnishing and surface wear often adds character and beauty, depending on the piece. Moreover, different oxidation products yield different colors of tarnish. Tarnish in the presence of skin oils (and byproducts of bacterial action) results in a warm, dark gray tarnish, while slower oxidation of clean jewelry results in a lighter, warmer, almost pinkish tarnish. However, too much tarnish can make a piece of silver look dull and uninteresting. If the tarnish is not spotty and is desirable in a lesser degree, the excess tarnish can be cleaned by buffing it vigorously with a soft cloth. Sand washed silk and leather, again, are ideal materials. One can also remove the excess tarnish by rubbing the piece with one's fingers, but that will of course result in dirty fingers.

Heavier or uneven tarnish may require special treatment for removal. A good way of removing all of the tarnish from every nook and cranny of the piece is to use Tarn-X (or a similar product), a thiosulfate-based product that literally dissolves away the oxidation products. This solution is a good one for pieces such as herring bone chains which need to shine brightly. This process sometimes leaves the jewelry looking somewhat dull if it started heavily tarnished, but a very quick buff with or without an abrasive (see below) will restore the shine. Tarn-X is also an excellent cleaner for gold-plate-over-silver jewelry when tarnish from the underlying silver peeks through the gold (causing it to look dark). Because it has no abrasives, it will not remove any of the thinning layer of gold.

Some amount of tarnish is desirable for most pieces of silver jewelry, particularly in recesses. It adds warmth, character, and definition. For that reason, it is best to polish them using an abrasive. Using a liquid or paste polish (an abrasive suspension) is probably not a good idea for most pieces of jewelry, because the polish becomes deposited in all the tiny recesses, making the jewelry look dirty and dull. Jewelers polish jewelry using a buffing wheel (a very thick cloth or felt disk mounted on a small bench grinder) loaded with a fine abrasive paste (lapping compound). A much more affordable and convenient solution is to use fingernail buffing polish -- not the nail enamel that is brushed on and dried but the powder that is used with a nail buffer to smooth and polish the fingernails. A small piece of soft leather, available in most craft stores, is ideal for holding the abrasive. Simply sprinkle the abrasive sparingly on the backside of the leather, rubbing it into the grain, and then rub the jewelry gently until it achieves the desired amount of shine. A very superficial polishing with very little pressure will leave tarnish in deep recesses, giving certain jewelry more definition. Silver chains can be polished by pulling them through the leather piece. This method of polishing silver will result in a very high sheen very quickly, so care must be taken not to over-polish if some remaining tarnish is desired. The leather piece can be folded and placed in the jewelry drawer or case where it will be handy for quick (15 sec) touch-ups before going out.

Finally, one must know what not to do to jewelry. The rules are few, but they are very important. First, never let any liquefied metal touch any piece of jewelry. That includes mercury, solder, Woods metal, and so forth. These metals will dissolve into the metal of the jewelry, ruining the alloy. Second, never let your silver jewelry come in contact with chlorine (chlorine bleach, Soft Scrub with bleach, swimming pool water, etc.). Chlorine will corrode it, turning it dark. Finally, make it a habit to inspect gemstone settings every time you clean your jewelry. Neglecting to do so could mean the loss of a diamond worth thousands of dollars. The prongs should all contact the stone firmly, hooking over the top of the stone, and the stone should not be able to move. (Beware that prong tips sometimes break off.) If any of the prongs are bent or damaged, put the item in a ziploc bag and take it to a jeweler for repair.

With a modest outlay of money for quality jewelry, you can save yourself money in the long run and look better for it. It will be well worth the trouble to keep it clean, polished, and well maintained. Barring theft or loss, your finer jewelry will grace your body for the rest of your life and will carry with it many memories. Moreover, it will be something of yourself that you can pass down to your children.

New Gender Assessment Tool

by Karen Bayes

Determining one's gender identity is a hard process. People are tortured by doubt, asking themselves, "Am I TV or TS, a drag queen or a transgendered person?".

To resolve this problem, please find below a new diagnostic tool. It is based on input from a panel of experts on the subject of gender (thanks to Melanie, Molly and Barbrajane). It utilises the latest questionnaire techniques (used in women's magazines the world over).

Answer the following ten questions, selecting a, b, c or d:

1. A man offers you a slice of chocolate cake. Do you respond,

2. A teddy is:

3. A man offers to buy you a drink. Is your response:

4. You are then asked to dance, do you:

5. Two people are discussing you in the street. You hear one of them say, "I think that's a man". Do you:

6. You're invited to a party where people want to meet your new, female self. Do you think,

7. When you arrive at the party, your first words are:

8. If you were offered a new computer, what would you say?

9. At the end of an evening, how do you remove your make up?

10. What is your definition of what it means to be a woman?



ANALYSIS

Sarah's Shopping Basket

by Sarah

There's a great deal on silicone breast enhancers if you can still find them. Revco has them on clearance for 50% off. That's only $20! They're shaped in such a way that they can actually work well for smallish breast forms. Good luck finding them, though.

Mary Ann told me about another great deal on full silicone breast forms. They have no nipples and come with no covers, but they're cheap at $69.99/pair. They come in SM, MED, LG, and XL. Call Healthhouse USA at 516-334-9754.


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 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.