I’m usually an impulsive publisher, meaning I usually come up with my ideas in my head while doing some mundane task, then put fingers to keyboard later that day and hit publish right away. The following though has been sitting for over a week and had a couple going overs. Humm.
The wording in the title may seem redundant. Being bigender, it’s with me all the time already, right?
Due to the COVID-19 issue, there are no places to get my hair cut and we don’t own any clippers. For that reason, my hair is getting quite long. It’s been 10 years since I had it this long, that was after my first retirement from the RCAF and lasted for about four or five months. That was by choice. Not now. Even though the regulations for men’s hair has been relaxed, I feel somewhat uneasy about my full head of hair when expressing male at work in uniform.
Back in my teens and early 20’s, all I had was my natural hair, no wigs. I wondered now what I could do with the mop that I’m currently blessed with. So I played around with it a bit the other day with some interesting results. It felt quit nice to sport my own hair and the resulting pictures got me to wondering “do I now need to match my gender expression to my hair?”
Living a double life?
Which then got me to wondering; as a bigender individual, I enjoy my manhood just as much as I enjoy being able to express that female part of me. While others in the similar situations as mine may be able to express female at home and male at work only, I find myself in the reverse situation. The CAF is an open and accepting employer. If I want, I could express as Michelle at work all the time, not so at home. I respect my wife’s request not to be (currently) involved with Michelle, but my “need” to be me is always present. So could I express male at home and female at work for extended periods? Like living some sort of double life?
I’ve worked my shifts while expressing female, getting ready at home and “sneaking” out before my wife got up, or changing on the way to/from work. On my 40 minute cycle into work for a night shift, just hours after playing with my hair, I conjured up the idea of leaving some female cloths in my locker at work, plan on arriving 10-15 mins early to change and throw on a quick face, ok, so maybe 20 mins early to spray down and style hair a bit too. I already have a flightsuit there, could add a skirt (I have two) and blouse, and would just need a few other items. Makeup I’d bring in my backpack and for now, no wig required. I’d arrange to reserve the single stall women’s bathroom for the time it takes to change. I’d probably not express female during my night shifts or just go makeup-less.
Now I have a hair dilemma. There are currently only regulations for men’s hair and women’s hair (unlike some European countries militaries). There is the CF Mil Pers Instr 01/19 – TRANSGENDER GUIDANCE, which is great for members who are transitioning. Bigender and gender non-conforming members are still in the grey area. In male mode, my hair can’t be touching my ears. If I was transitioning, no issue growing it out. But right now I’m required to select which Dress Reg (male of female) I’m going to follow. Yes wigs are easy, but could I be the one to challenge the establishment. I’ve done a bit of digging and found that it would more than likely be at the local (Unit or Wing) level, where approval might be considered as part of an individuals gender expression. I’m not sure if I should go there. Maybe I’ll just enjoy what I can for now and go back to my wig when the time comes.
My last two day shifts I expressed female. First day with natural hair, second with wig. I received compliments on both. I have to admit though I do prefer the short blond wig as I think it makes me look younger.
I’ve re-established contact with my local mental health folks to try and sort things out, both with my desire to express more and communications with my dear, lovely wife.
The question posed in the title is still open. Hopefully, to be answered sooner than later.
I didn’t. It chose me.
Note: if I repeat something I’ve already mentioned in earlier posts, its to reinforce a point or for new readers to understand something. If I contradict something from earlier, it’s because I’ve learned more about myself since then. Also, I know everyone is different. Everyone has their own lives to live and their lived experiences are different from everyone else’s. This is my take on my life
26 April 2020. It was an absolutely beautiful Sunday morning in the Annapolis Valley NS and as the weather forecast had the following three days looking cold with snow and rain, I got out early into the vegetable garden to get as much prep work done as I could.
It was 4c, no wind but full sun. Very quickly it warmed up to 14c and I soon had my sweater off. As I continued to dig over the dirt, I could feel by biceps working hard. The sun beat down on my bare arms and neck and what was I thinking? “Well that’s not going to be much help if I want to wear a sleeveless dress or top. A farmers tan and large muscles.” Such is my conflict between expressions.
Working alone doing a mundane, yet somehow enjoyable task like working over the garden, my mind had plenty of time to consider many thoughts. Not only planning on what I was going to plant where, but also how life might have been different. Questions that popped up were like; should I somehow have stopped myself at “just being a crossdresser”? Could I have lived with that? How about calling it a hobby or seeing it as an art form; in praise of women? I was born male, raised male, enjoy my male life and everything I do as a male so why can’t I just be happy being a straight crossdressing male? There is more to me than just that male portion of my life that until quite recently wasn’t seen by many. Have I now made my life more difficult?
What if I hadn’t got up the nerve to talk to my CO? If I’d been somehow able to quash the thoughts of being more visible? Just have been, or gone back to being an at home alone crossdresser? I think you might suspect the answer…I would not have been all right in the head! There has always been more to me than just wanting to wear the clothes of the opposite gender. That female expression has been a part of me for ever. I just never really understood it.
So at 58 years of age, I find myself trying to balance my two expressions. Sure I love to work outdoors, in the garden etc but that sometimes conflicts with how I want to improve my female expression. Sure I keep my body hair free and toenails painted, what guy doesn’t? Oh, never mind. I usually cover my arms in guy mode to avoid getting too much sun, or go shirtless to avoid the dreaded farmers tan. I try to keep my fingernails as long as I can and coated with clear polish. I tweezed my eyebrows decades ago and they remain fine. I believe these are all parts of my female expression bleeding through into everyday male life.
The previous day after getting home from my night shift and my wife leaving to take groceries to her mother, I had a chance to go through some bags of used clothing my youngest daughter had set aside. Due to boredom, she had actually cleaned out her room…lol. Now I’ve stated in the past that I don’t do part ‘dressing’, but on this occasion I only donned my wig and did the “tuck and stuff” to achieve the correct body shape. And I felt completely fine with my image, even without makeup. I’m not turned off or revolted by what I see. I just see me and I’m now comfortable with that.
So back to the clothes. I found a few items and put then aside. I went into the family room where my daughter was watching something and said “you don’t mind?” as I was wearing leggings, tshirt and cardigan (all saved items), and she answered, “no. Why should I?” but then ran out of the room. That surprised me until she returned with a tube of foundation and a grey eyeshadow pallet. “I don’t use these, thought you could”. “Oh, and there are some bags of clothes in the garage you might find something in them”. “All ready gone through, haha” I replied. We talked about what I had found as well as about what I use for makeup. Love my daughter. I then put the clothes away, changed back to drab gardening clothes and went to dig. It was again, in the garden, that I thought about how I can switch between expressions without regret of losing or having to “put away” an expression.
Being bigender for me is a balance and it’s not always easy, between living up to whom I have been or perceived to have been by others until this point in my life, and who I truly am; which includes that part of me that has been kept under wraps for so long.
I have thought about what I would be like to “live” for a time as a woman, but I have no desire to transition. I believe I would miss the male me. I have thought about what it would be like to be able to modify my body somewhat, ie grow some breasts, get curvier hips, but that’s not happening. Would love to get rid of my damn beard though (but I’m lucky it’s not very dark or heavy), that might be doable.
And in the middle of all these questions and racing mind, I recall the one time I did see a specialist and she said something along the lines of “there is this woman that needs out”. Ok, so she knew her stuff. She saw it in me, I hadn’t clued in yet. Time, self-reflection and learning eventually made the lightbulb come on.
I didn’t choose to be bigender.
What I did choose was to accept who I am. I choose to be the best person I can be. I choose to learn more about myself and others like me. I chose to put myself out there as an example so others know they are not alone and they too can express themselves freely.
Yes, at times it can be very difficult being bigender. Would I choose to be any different? Nope!
2020 so far.
It is indeed the tail of two situations (I have a vague recollection of reading something decades ago about best and worst times…yes I know it’s from the opening of A Tale of Two Cities, the only thing I remember…lol). Ok, back to this year so far.
2020 started off with so much hope and excitement. For me in January there was the revelation that I’m bigender! I was also eagerly looking forward to the Keystone Conference in Harrisburg at the end of March. Then COVID 19 came along and cancelled things. Ok, so I would be home for the 31st of March, Transgender Day Of Visibility, “I’ll see about arranging a flag raising at my Bases main gate”, I thought. Well that went bye-bye too. I did however write a small article for the local Base paper that got published on the 30th, with the article also appearing on the papers Facebook feed on the morning of the 31st. It was really nice to see a dozen or so “likes” and “loves” along with a couple shares.
I didn’t let the disappointment of losing the flag raising, or no chance to be visible on TDOV, or attend my first ever Transgender conference get me down. Rather it energized me to do something else for the first time.
While the majority of folks are having to stay home (or should be), I’m one of those essential personnel required to keep my RCAF Wing running. While some of those at home take advantage of this time to practice make-up and putting together outfits, or just hang about all day in pajamas, I did the opposite. I actually had to get dressed and head into my shift cycle (2 x 10 hr days, then 2 x 14 hr nights) which started on the 1st of April. Now, there aren’t many people around at work, again essential only with some coming in for an hour or two, but I committed myself to be visible all the same after not having had the chance on the 31st.
I’ve expressed a few times at work, but never in uniform while in the position of working the “Duty Desk” (there was the casual Friday event). I was able to get ready at home for the two day shifts and leave before my wife got up. At the end of those shift, I changed before coming home. I had initially planned on a one day of visibility, but I thought, why not a couple days? That turned into “at least one night”, which ended in a complete shift cycle. For the night shifts I’d dress under my flightsuit and do my makeup in the car on the drive in, reversing the process on the way home in the morning.
Except for one instance (on the last night) of questioning my ID at the main gate, “You’ve got the wrong ID there ma’am”, followed by my well-rehearsed/used story and “well now I know. Thank you”, there was never any issues. I also got to explain things to one of the members who has known me for many years but not this part of me. We had a good chat, with his closing remarks being, “wow, that is really interesting and congratulations. You look great by the way. Good job.”
“Why are you in DEU’s?” (Distinctive Environment Uniform – referring to the uniform blouse and skirt) was asked by a Major friend and one of my Positive Space ambassadors. My answer was a paraphrase of what Maj (Ret) Foss told me once; “I wear the skirt all the time “she said. “When you’ve been told you can’t do something all your life and now you can, you do.”
I am so thankful I have the opportunity to be able to express myself freely as a bigender member of the CAF. That last shift cycle was liberating. I was so comfortable. I did my job and didn’t really think about how I was dressed or expressing. I was being me. Next shift is Easter weekend, more than likely male me. Following that it’s a Tue/Wed day, Thu/Fri night shift. Who knows? I’ll see how I feel, but it’s nice to know I can.
Yes, so far 2020 has been a mix of the best and worst of times. We’ll get through the worst, and enjoy the best! Stay safe and healthy!
So, for those who have visited recently, or even those who have just tuning in and read my last entry, and via pictures on my Flickr account, You will have noticed I have now come to the conclusion I’m bigender and I’m very comfortable with that fact.
It was with this knowledge that I decided it was time to express myself at work, for a full shift. Not in uniform this time, but take advantage of a full day on a Friday; Dress with a difference day, aka Casual Friday, with a Toonie ($2 Cdn) going towards charity . I’ve done short days in uniform (DEU’s or flightsuit) and a couple classroom sessions in civvies, but never while working as the Duty Ops Officer.
I am proud of where I work and those I work with. “Dignity and inclusivity for all” is a major hallmark of the Canadian Armed Forces and Friday proved that.
“Oh, its Michelle on the desk today”, “Good morning Michelle” was how I was met entering the office and throughout the day. Later in the afternoon, when a flight crew from the other coast came in to pick up their kit left from the night before, the Master Corporal had no hesitation addressing me as ma’am multiple times (even though I’m in civvies, he recognized the position I’m in as that of an officers), and it feels completely natural. During my shift, I received may phone calls. I find now that while expressing my female self, I have an automatic tendency (I don’t need to think about it) to shift my voice to a more feminine one. A number of callers have only ever known me as male so automatically refer to me as “Sir” when I answer the phone with rank and name. I did notice though that a number of times the caller may have been caught off guard (and not sure?), as they just addressed me as “Capt” or “Hello Ops”, which has never happened before.
The day also presented opportunities to inform/educate a couple of members who didn’t know about this part of me. The CO’s Executive Assistant and I compared our boots and outfits (we were both wearing tall boots, black leggings and oversized sweaters, “hey, we dressed the same” she says with a laugh). She also said I needed to give her some make-up lessons…lol. Again, it felt so great to be able to participate in this kind of talk.
I’m comfortable with who(what) I am. I will continue to balance my expressive opportunities as life allows. There may be a couple chances in the near future, but, guess what? I have a major event occurring at the end of March. My first ever attendance at a gender conference; Keystone! Getting very excited. There may be a write-up or two and a couple pictures from that. 😉
In light of my recent declaration that I’m bigender, I spent the morning of Sat 01 Feb, reading my blog from the very beginning and picking out some key points of interest. I wondered what I would find. It’s definitely interesting to see the progressive change in my understanding and thoughts about myself.
Although, not too long ago, I had labelled myself as gender fluid (which was a better description than crossdresser as it not just about the clothes), I didn’t feel 100% good about doing so; I have some control over when/how I can express myself. It hit me this past week while reading another blog, I had never considered the term bigender and its application. But it is actually a best fit for me.
It is quite curious how the signals have always been there. I’ve also wondered about things like why I chose the name for my blog or how I selected the cover picture for my female Facebook page; there must have been some unseen/unconscious influence.
So here is what I have pulled from my blog:
First Post, appearance – Dec 23 2011: When Michelle is able to appear, I like to look as passible as possible and be accepted in the real world as just another woman.
Why? – Dec 24 2011: I believe there is something deeper in our psychological makeup that pushes us to do this.
Not normal, or? – Dec 31 2011: I never had a real girlfriend during high school, had a crush on one, but was too shy ever to ask her out….had friends who were girls, ”so I must be normal, somehow, as I still have an interest in girls”……”oh I like what she is wearing, wonder what it would look like on me?”…….lol. “I’m confused, but I bet it would look good”.
I slept in my sisters room, in her nighty, got up the next morning and dressed 100% in her barn clothes and went and did chores…
Starting to accept myself – Jan 19 2012: this is not something that we simply can abandon. It is part of us, part of me. This is who I am. I’m a normal guy, with a fantastic wife, great kids, enjoying myself as a father and husband, partaking in all my kids activities, home handyman, gardener, and oh yes, I’m a crossdresser. I accept myself for who I am.
A guy with thoughts – Apr 16 2012: Just to clarify; I am a guy, I like being a guy. I like being a dad and a husband. I do not want to be a woman full time (I would be lying if I said I had not fantasized about this possibility…giggle), just sometimes when the urge, or planned urge, hits me.
Passing yes, but there is more – Aug 21 2012: I want to look as feminine as possible. I have no intention of becoming a woman, I am not denying to myself that I am a male (I’m very happy being one, thank you), but for that time when the desire so occurs, I want to portray a woman as best I can, act the part, be the part and if going out in public, receive the recognition for a stellar performance as an actor/actress; passing.
First mention of expression and gender – March 22 2013: Or I could describe myself as a guy (I may have mentioned that already) who sometimes likes to wear the clothes of the opposite sex (crossdress). While crossdressed in these clothes, I like to portray the image of a woman by adding make-up, hair and female mannerisms (crossact). While crossacting, I am expressing or displaying characteristics of the opposite gender to which I was born (transgender). How’s that for a long winded description using multiple labels?
Understanding? Not yet – May 7 2014: I had set out with the purpose of this blog to see if I could find an answer to the question “why”, but, like so many others, have not been able to find it. Instead, I have come to understand crossdressing and the role it plays in my life.
Starting to realize something – June 12 2014: When I transform myself from the look of an everyday guy to that of a woman, it is all exterior decorating. Change the hair, change the face with makeup, change the texture of the skin by shaving and change the overall look by donning clothes that a woman would wear. My thoughts don’t change, my personal views don’t change, the things I love and hate don’t change. The only reason I would change my mannerisms, again an external manifestation, is so that they match the image I am portraying. My overall intent when I dress is to look like and to emulate a woman to the best of my ability. This has always been my goal when dressing from as far back as I can remember.
I still don’t know why I do what I do (this crazy, enjoyable thing called crossdressing), but with every little discovery, I’m understanding myself more.
I am me!
A female portion to my brain? – Oct 20 2014: I have previously stated, there is “no girl trying to get out” or a “second self”, but then, why do I have these “girly” thoughts. And why, when I dress, do I have this need to portray a womanly image? There is obviously a small portion of my brain that is “female”
Progression – July 18 2017: Despite my best personal effort and belief that I had “found” myself a number of years ago, through writing my own and reading others blogs, I now believe I am on a similar road of progression and self-discovery that so many others have experienced.
Comfortable – June 14 2018: Comfortable with my hair and make-up. Comfortable with my clothes. Comfortable with my presentation. Comfortable in my mind. Comfortable being me.
A summary of hints that my female gender was trying to reaching out and be known – July 12 2018, Am I now also experiencing the “finding ones true self”? And if so, what the hell is it? I used to describe myself as a “hetero-crossdresser”, but I’m now thinking there is more to me than that. There is a deep seated desire to be much more than just my male self. I know there is always a process of maturing and education throughout our entire lives, but while reflecting on my outings in Ottawa and digging deep into the recesses of my mind, there seems to have always been a part of me that has wanted to show/express my female person.
Which brings me to where I am today.
I’m bigender (with a hint of fluidity) and pride of it!
Although this will not be an in-depth post, I thought I should do a short update anyways.
Why did I choose the “themichelleinme” as the name for my blog? Why have I said so many times “I what to explore the woman in me” or “I’ve learned more about this part of me”? Or “I just want to express this part of me in normal/everyday activities”? (If you read back through my posts you may start to see all the hints)
Its because I’m Bigender! There has always been a female gender looking out from my male frame. Born and assigned male, raised and conditioned to be male, always suppressing that part of me that didn’t fit the expectations of those around me. Until recently, it was only when I was alone that I could “allow” that part of me to be free. But I’m also still very happy with my male expression.
Fortunately, in recent years I have become less fearful of letting me express both genders that make me who I am. I’m able to, without shame, express female at work and with friends out and about in the local area. I’m fortunate that I have some control over when I express M or F, to best fit my personal schedule or in showing support for the greater LGBTQ2+ community (both within the Canadian Armed Forces and in the general public), through education and visibility.
This is who I am and Michelle has always been in me.
16 months since my last update! Sorry about that folks. But if you have seen by my Flickr pics on the side, I have been VERY busy. Busy expressing that female part of me that has been there all my life, but now has had many opportunities to be “let out”.
I’ll get around to some more detailed accounts on the near future. Just wanted to let you know I’m still about, but yes, things have changed.
So, in light of recent events and how things have changed over the last few years, as well as finding my mind wandering, questioning what is going on, I have decided to list everything I can remember with regards to how I’ve thought about this crossdressing thing and how my thoughts may have change. Or where they always that way, I just didn’t read the signals then, the same way I do now?
Some points that follow I have mentioned before, others never.
Childhood (7-11 years old)
- I remember the girls at school wearing the school uniform skirts, doing handstands against the wall and showing their undies and me thinking I would like to wear those.
- I went to a Cub Scout theatrical performance where a number of the boys where dressed like “angels” in white dresses. I was jealous, I wanted to dress like that.
- That time I wanted to wear my sisters nurse uniform (too small) but turned my police one into a girl’s version using my sister’s black cape as a wrap skirt. Why? No idea, but it felt great. Not so finding out my mother had taken back her nylons I had stashed under my bed. That was a major downer.
- Continued sneaking through my mother’s stuff as “we” so often tend to do, loving the image the mirror projected. Never questioning.
Youth (12-18 years old)
- Puberty was starting. Sister’s too. I tried on her training bra and wondered if this might cause my breasts to grow. Remember the first “real” bra I wore, a Daisy Fresh front snap closure.
- As a kid, ever remember the story of if you crossed your eyes and looking in the mirror at midnight, you would stay cross-eyed? I tried that while being crossdressed. I looked like a girl, would I stay that way after midnight? Why would I even tempt fate if that’s not something I wanted?
- I wore my mother’s bathing suit. It had semi rigid breast cups and tummy control. It provided some hiding factor to my maleness, but that’s the first time I remember tucking things away, to look like a girl. Then I thought if I can do this with a swim suit, why not a bikini? That quickly moved onto sisters smaller panties and bra (which, like so many girls that age, I stuffed with toilet paper). This was all done with the aim of looking like a girl. And I never thought anything was wrong with it.
- I tried pushing “things” back inside my body to hide them. Didn’t work.
- All through this time (and still do), I looked at girls and wondered about dressing like them. Their hair, make-up, clothes. After evening Drives Ed, the school was empty, so while waiting to be picked up, I’d sneak into the girl’s bathroom and experience a sense of…I really don’t know how to explain it…it “felt” good to be in there.
- In grad 12, one of the girls can to school in a skirt suit as she had a job interview right after classes….I was SO FRIGGING JEALOUS of how she looked. I SO WANTED to look like that.
Teen to adult
- I would be remiss if I didn’t say that dressing also brought about arousal and pleasure, but ALWAYS followed by guilt and shame. After the purges, deep regret for having done so. Like I’d lost something that I may never get back.
- On the farm, when I’d find myself alone, I’d dress in my sisters barn clothes to do chores. I mean everything she wore! I wanted to be like her.
- When I worked overseas on an exchange program, again, for whatever reason, I wanted and did get out while dressed. These where my very first excursions outside of the safety of my room. Went for a drive, walk in town, cycled. I wanted to be seen as a woman.
- When I can home, waiting to get into the Forces, there was a compelling need to go beyond dressing in the apartment. A needed to get out and be seen and interact with society. Always nerve-racking, but also enjoyable.
- After joining the Forces, there was two Halloweens, a winter carnival with a Womanless Beauty Pageant and an Octoberfest that were used as “excuses” to dress. Again, I enjoyed being out.
- On two occasions, while driving from temporary posting to the next, I chose to dress for parts of those drives. But why? It would have been so much simpler to just travel as “me”. I’ve never really given much thought until recently, as to what the motivation was. I just wanted, or needed to do it. Now as I think back, I may have started out nervous, but it did indeed feel great to be able to do it. Dare I say, as I’ve most recently written…it felt comfortable.
- A couple of times I drove 50 minutes to the nearest airport just to wander around. No thought given to “what if something happened”.
- I stifled the desire to get out once we started a family. The thoughts though never went away. The “want” has always been there.
- Most recently, through the fantastic invention called the internet, I have been able to reach out to others around the world. Read, write and exchange thoughts on what makes “us” tick. I’ve learned much about myself, but with each passing experience, although I keep learn more, I’m also left with newer questions.
- Am I now also experiencing the “finding ones true self”? And if so, what the hell is it? I used to describe myself as a “hetero-crossdresser”, but I’m now thinking there is more to me than that. There is a deep seated desire to be much more than just my male self. I know there is always a process of maturing and education throughout our entire lives, but while reflecting on my most outings in Ottawa and digging deep into the recesses of my mind, there seems to have always been a part of me that has wanted to show/express my female persona.
- I know there are many who have gone through something similar and can relate.
- And the rhetorical question re-appears…Where is this taking me? Time will tell I suppose.
Hey everyone. Yep, it’s been like 11 months since my last entry. A bunch of stuff has happened during that time, but my next entry, coming soon, will skip straight to very recent events.
Stay tuned. M