Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for July, 2008

Crap, they’re onto me…


Yet another way that people fear and hunt for “men posing as women.” Is this really a problem? Or is it just another way that people express their fear of and disdain for transwomen?


Sex determination lab at Olympics

From correspondents in Beijing

July 27, 2008 08:18pm

Article from: Agence France-Presse

OLYMPIC host Beijing has set up a sex determination lab to test female Olympic athletes suspected to be males, state media reported today.

Experts at the lab, located at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital, will evaluate dubious cases based on their external appearance and take blood samples testing sex hormones, genes and chromosomes, Xinhua news agency said.

Sex testing has been routine at the Olympics and other sports events for decades, triggered by fears that male athletes sought to cheat by posing as women.

Indian athlete Santhi Soundarajan was stripped of an Asian Games silver medal in 2006 after failing a gender verification test.

How do ~you~ see me?

So, being exposed to that old friend last night made me do some thinking about how much people think of gender as binary. I must confess that as I live longer in my proper gender, the more inclined I have become to see the binary in gender. I know there are many people who find comfort in the middle, but for me it really does feel like I was on the wrong side of something that has two sides. That’s only my experience and I’m certainly not saying that because I feel comfortable seeing gender as a binary that means that it is.

So, my point:

Whether or not people “accept” me does not completely categorize how they ~see~ me.

There are some people that will never accept me; they think I’m deluded or crazy or whatever, but they see me in no way making an acceptable use of my life. I’m not talking about them.

People that accept me fall into two groups, and it does seem to matter a little whether or not people knew me before my transition.

Anyway, the first group seem to be people that accept my transition, but see it as if I used to be a man and chose/decided to become a woman (how the hell would one “become” a woman anyway?). These people are lovely, but they’re missing a big part of the picture for me. To these people I used to be a man, and they’re never going to see me as completely a woman (even post-surgery) in the way that “normal” women are. I will always be a woman with a modifier (“trans”) to these folks. These people are fine to hang around with, but it can be a little tiring and disconcerting at times.

The other group ~gets~ it. They know that I have always been a woman (well, okay, at first I was a girl). There were no choices involved, other than the choice to accept myself. In terms of my womanhood, it’s the same as any other woman. I didn’t “used to be a guy.” I lived as a guy. I pretended to be a man. I hid from the reality that, all along, I was a woman.

The short way to describe the way that the people in these two groups see me is:

1: A man that we accept living as a woman.

2: A woman that was born with the wrong parts.

It’s kind of a big difference. If it seems purely semantic, I assure you that it is not; it matters in almost every facet of life; it impacts the way these people interact with me on every level.

You might imagine that there is a difference in my comfort level between hanging with people from each group.

And it seems like women are more likely to be able to make the leap to the second group.

And it seems like whether the person in question knew the person I lived as before or not makes a difference as well. I’m always shocked when people see any of “him” in me. It’s just so hard for me to fathom.

And I won’t even delve too far into the whole herd of guys that think I’m hot and then turn it around into “you’re really a man.” (as if…)

And so there’s yet another reason why stealth is so tempting sometimes. I completely understand that I’ve ~always~ been a woman. Sometimes I lived under different masks, and different levels of denial, but my womanhood was always there; it was the base reality that triggered all of my other choices. People that meet me as a woman, and don’t know that I have a transgender history are not the most comfortable to be with, though, because some of my history will always be hidden in that context.

The people that are the most comfortable for me to be with are the people in group 2, who know my history and see me as a woman; not as a woman with any sort of modifier, just a woman, just like any other woman. “Penny: a normal woman.”  lol  

And even though a certain amount of this is “you get it or you don’t,” it is possoble for people to move between the groups, so people that might not fully get it now can work their way into really understanding.

Just musing after being called by a boy’s name last night.

No action for me

So, I finally made it to Jacque’s tonight. I’m still trying to process everything that went down this evening. It was fairly eventful emotionally.

I don’t like drag. I find it offensive. I try to see it as a “good time” and light-hearted fun, but as hard as I try, I feel like it trivializes my life experience. Yes, fine, even my priest (yes, my priest came to the tranny club with me – she’s a pretty cool priest) said that I was taking it too seriously.

When the show started I sort of really closed in on myself. I went outside with Ilyse, and felt a little better. After three rum & diet cokes I felt quite a bit better. I still have very mixed feelings .., but by the end ot the night I did have a good time.

I had four great girlfriends with me, and I accomplished my goal for the evening, which was to make it inside the damn club and scope it out. And, oddly enough, I’m not sure I’ll ever go back.

I felt like I should go to Jacque’s because tranny-chasers hang out there. I jokingly said that I wanted to get laid tonight (yeah, right). But, the guys that were there were incredibly skeevy. Like, I had this expectation that since it was the real world the guys at Jacque’s would be less sketchy than the guys on craigslist – wrong. There were a bunch of bachelorette parties, so there were a ton of very drunk straight women in the club; it was a weird vibe. But there were also several guys hanging out at the bar; they were pretty creepy without exception. If that’s the pool of men that I have to pick from when it comes to dating, I’m going to be single for a very long time.

Rev S~ was amazing while I was freaking out, as were L~ and I~, but R~ is just one of the most amazing friends I’ve ever had. She said just such brilliant and lovely things, amongst which was that she sees me as the same as her (a woman), and that the drag queens are pretending to be me (and her). She’s one perceptive lady. I love her so much; I’m so glad we’ve become such good friends.

So, I didn’t get laid (*sigh*), and I did kind of freak at first, but I had an overall enjoyable evening (especially after that third rum & diet coke). More importantly, I’ve been into Jacque’s at this point, and I would not be intimidated about going back. I’m not sure I would go back, because I’m not sure how realistic it is to try to meet someone there for a real relationship. But I’m not scared of the place anymore, and that’s pretty good.

I did like my outfit, though.

This is exactly the bullshit I’m talking about…

So, I figured I’d post a very brief IM log. I “hide” on MySpace IM. I only have the MySpace messenger to get the real-time updates on my emails and comments. I hate chatting online; I think it’s a really horrible way to communicate.

This dude thought I was attractive enough to IM me even though I would have appeared to be offline (on chat). I’m not as pissed or annoyed or hurt as I would have been just a few days ago about this exchange. I have mixed feelings at this point. I’m feeling much better about my attractiveness and desireability – just as I am; but it’s still kind of weird when a guy IM’s me out of the blue without taking the ten seconds to read enough of my profile to discover that I’m transgender.

Anyway, here’s a very typical example of what I deal with:

pete0236:  (07/14/2008 11:11 PM): hi
pete0236 is online 07/14/2008 11:11 PM:
“I am online”

Picky Penelope: hello

pete0236: hi there how are you tonight

Picky Penelope: fine, how are you?

pete0236: im good thank you
pete0236: your profile caught my eye so i thought id drop a line

Picky Penelope: thanks
Picky Penelope: what part caught your eye?

pete0236: to be honest your picture

Picky Penelope: always is   lol
pete0236: your very attractiuve
pete0236: attractive*

Picky Penelope: thanks

pete0236: i can send a few pics if youd like

Picky Penelope: did you read any of my profile?

pete0236 logged off at 07/14/2008 11:14 PM
Messages will be delivered next time the user logs on


And he was gone. It’s gotten to the point that when a random guy emails me or IMs me, I get to the “Hey, non-reading jerk, I’M A TRANSSEXUAL” as quickly as possible. It saves both of us lots of time.

I’m almost taking an evil pleasure in messing with these guys heads. That guy has to spend tonight thinking about how he thought a transsexual was actually “very attractive.” Imagine that. 

My Favorite Trans Movie


It’s funny to me that my favorite trans movie isn’t specifically “trans.”


It’s Mulan. I saw it when it came out (in 1998) with my Gram, because no one else wanted to see it. As I’ve watched it again and again over the years, it seems to have an increasing impact on me. I put it on today just because it was on the Disney channel. I put it on more for noise than anything else. I cry so much watching this movie. Good cry. Scared cry. Sad cry. Loved cry. Mulan triggers every emotion. And it’s pretty funny, too.


But the really interesting thing is how I relate to Mulan. Mulan is a girl that masquerades as a man in order to serve in her father’s place in the army. She does not want to be a boy, yet she is pretending to be one. It’s gottent to the point that that’s really how I see my past. I was pretending to be a boy. I see myself so much as that girl, scared for her life if the truth was revealed. It’s not a perfect analogy for my life, of course, but it surprises me how much more I relate to Mulan than most other trans characters in movies, and she’s not even “really” trans.


Anyway, good movie, one of my favorites ever, just felt like saying so.


And it has a most amazing song for a transwoman:

Look for them where they are…

Amazingly, after posting an ad on craigslist under the heading that I dread (“t4m” or “transgender for man”), I got a ton of emails. Some of them suck (it’s craigslist, afterall), but several of them seem quite promising (there’s already been at least one phone conversation).

It’s funny how, when I posted in the place where the people looking for me are, I got some legit interest. Again, it’s craigslist, so I’m a little leery, but why is it all that much worse than

This feels like another piece of the acceptance puzzle. I’ve been resisting the idea of specifically hunting amongst the tranny-chasers. It almost turns in on itself, “there must be something wrong with someone that would be attracted to women like me.” And, to take it one step further: “there must be something wrong with someone that would be attracted ~to me.~” And, as I referenced in the past, the Groucho Marx line about not belonging to any club that would have me as a member. It seems like it was all related to me feeling crappy about being trans. I’m still not like super happy or nothing. I’d have much preferred the nice normal ovaries and uterus that I was supposed to get, but I didn’t get them. [here’s the acceptance part] And I’m special the way I am. And certain people understand that specialness. And certain people look for people special in the way that I am. And some of them are going to suck. And some of them are going to be okay. And some of them I’m probably going to think are special too.

So I’m going to stop thinking (and saying) such negative things about tranny-chasers (or “Admirers,” to use the more PC term). Within this group of guys is more than likely some men that I will really hit it off with. I need to stop judging the guys that could be attracted to me the way that I am simply because they could be attracted to me the way that I am. That seems like a wicked “cutting off your nose to spite your face” kind of thing if I ever heard of one.

These guys like transwomen. They find transwomen attractive. Some of them even want real, honest-to-goodness relationships with transwomen.



I’m a transwoman.


Seems like a no-brainer, yes?

It’s about time.

(oh, and I think the current count is like 15 replies to my ad in like 12 hours  –  whoa)

[I think this was a really important day on the journey.]

Swim Time!

Last September was the first time I had been swimming in several years. I hated that. I am a total pisces; I love the water. I don’t think anything scared me as much as swimwear.

Amy started me thinking about it in the winter of ’06/’07 when she asked about me wearing a bathing suit.

And then SaraT’s mom gave me a bathing suit that actually fit and looked half-decent.

So, last September, nearly after the season, I screwed up my courage and went swimming at the beach a couple blocks from my house. (There are even pictures to prove it.)

I wanted to get a new suit for this summer. My mom and I are going to Foxwood’s for a couple overnights, and I hate gambling, so I’ll be swimming. Is anyone surprised that this is the suit I just ordered?

Is that not the perfect “Penny Suit” or what? 

%d bloggers like this: