Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oh My Feakin' God! What a time!

I wanted to write every day about attending the Southern Comfort Conference, but I didn't. But what an experience! I think it was one of my friends, Deja True that said, "Good girls write about their experiences, bad girls can't be bothered!"

I will follow up with my impressions of the conference. Right now I'm back home in Michigan reflecting on all the wonderful people I met, and all the things we did.

Until I can straighten out my feelings, I will say good night and thanks to everyone.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Takeshita Dori in Harajuku Shopping District Here I Come!

With my fascination with all things Japanese, I decided to try and do an interpretation of the Elegant Goth Lolita Fashion. I wanted to do this for this year's Halloween. I'm not sure where that will be at, but I thought I would at least get myself ready.

The Elegant Goth Lolita fashion has been credited to a Japanese guitarist who calls himself Mana. He played for a group called Malice Mizer (pronounced Marisu Miseru). A number of the J-rock bands have an androgynous visual theme. Mana's group and Dir En Grey are two of the early bands along with X Japan who is credited with the the Visual Kei movement. The young girls that follow these bands dress in these EGL dresses and gather in the Harajuku Shopping District around Takeshita Dori(Street) in Tokyo on Sunday. It has become quite an attraction to tourist who gather and take photos of all the people that dress in these beautiful costumes. You may find more pictures of the Harajuku Shopping District here.

The look is sometimes dark like the American Gothic or it's light, like Alice in Wonderland. The common theme is Victorian and young girl. Whether it is dark or light the dresses come with lace and a certain amount of poofiness. They are pretty, feminine, and doll like. There is a always some sort of head gear, a small hat mounted on one side, flowers, or bonnet.

This fashion ties seamlessly into the whole cosplay/crossplay, manga, and anime that the Japanese love so much.

Lost in Translation

This was my first stab at the makeup. I used false eyelashes on both top and bottom. The eyeshadow is M.A.C. "Cranberry Frost" and the eyeliner is M.A.C. "Raven". The lips I used both black and red lipstick. The lipstick from is a dark "Go Currant" from Maybeline. I blended the black into the red.

This really isn't an example of EGL by the way. What I'm showing you here is a style sometimes politely called "Cosplay Lolita", or not so politely called "Clueless Lolita"! For an accurate description of all the different sub-categories of Lolita check out the website But I loved doing it anyways!





Wednesday, September 17, 2008

First Pictures Since Surgery

I finally got a chance to create some pictures with makeup since my plastic surgery.

A few tidbits of information are left about my surgery. There still is some swelling after one month and five days. Also, I was told afterwards that sometimes the dissolvable sutures do not dissolve, the immune system will push them up and out! And that has happened to me. It was really weird to have some of these little like fishing line things come out from around my ears, yuk!

And as per usual, my Photoshop skills are being put to the test, I hope you like them!

Here's my first picture in a chartreuse dress that I got from
Newport News:


This is something I threw together. I'm in the process of creating an
Elegant Goth Lolita ensemble. So I'm showing off the gloves, socks and shoes from that future ensemble:

I'm trying to get all ready for the
Southern Comfort Conference. So I'm trying out some different combinations of stuff I already have:


And a closeup from the same shot:

Here's another Head Shot:


I'm really happy so far with the results of all the surgery torture I endured. And I can't wait to get to the SCC this October first! I hope to see a lot of you there!

Love, Tracy

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Two Weeks & Three Days

Today is Thursday September 4, 2008. I feel I've fallen behind in my facelift updates. I think John Lennon said it best:

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

But I'm also kinda bummed, I had just bought a brand new Nikon D40 camera and was enjoying the infrared remote control, when I bumped the tripod and crash! I thought at first it was OK because the software screen was OK, but then when I tried to take a picture, it sounded like it was having a seizure, the poor thing. It's on a vacation to the Nikon & Lounge and Repair place. I hope to hear from it soon.

But back to my progress. More of the swelling is down, almost all of the busing is gone. There are still lumps under my chin, this is a direct result of the muscle tightening. An excellent article was in the New York Magazine about the "New New Face" It explains better what my plastic surgeons goals were: To tighten underlying structures and to add back (or plump up) that which is missing. You may wish to read the comments to that article. There was so much anger in a lot of the posts. I hope I'm not generating more!

So here's my picture as of Friday before the Nikon debacle, again no makeup, sorry for the beard:

My wife saw me in this outfit, said I looked like one of the guys from "Spinal Tap", frankly, I don't see it.

Here's one with some basic hiding powder:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Tips on Photoshop

I'm still waiting for some of the swelling to go down from my face lift, so in the mean time I thought I would post some of my favorite links for Photoshop.

One of my favorite sites is the Photoshop Cafe. These are short, to the point, and well illustrated. There's a number of tutorials on this site. Here's some of my favorites that are especially useful for us cross-dressers:

Cast or Drop Shadow

Use of the Eyedropper


Placing a person inside an object

Masking Difficult Images

Removing a Picture from a Background

Another good site is the Graphics Software Website. There's tutorials and resources and other Photoshop links there.

A more accessible website is the Pegaweb Tutorial website by Daniel Piechnick.

One of the things I've been working on is designing business cards that I will be able to use while attending the Southern Comfort Conference. I want to use these cards when I meet my fellow sisters and brothers, so that we will be able to stay in touch with one another once the Conference is over.

Here's one of the first examples:


I used photo-stock business cards from Staples, and here is the link to a business card template for Photoshop.

In fact I have been using these lately to introduce my femme side to friends and sales associates. I keep a few in my wallet. They have worked wonderfully.

I hope next time I'll be able to post some new photos.

Till next time...Tracy

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm Getting Impatient! Computers to the Rescue!

I know it's going to take a while to get healed up, and things are coming along nicely according to my plastic surgeon. But that still doesn't stop me from saying, "Hey, hurry up already!"

So I'll show you how I look today:

I had some of the stitches removed on Monday. The ones under the eyes really smarted, it's a sensitive area. They (the nurse and doctor each took their turns) took out other stitches, but left the ones that were around the "puffy" areas alone. I will get those out in two days on Friday. They put steri-strips back under the eyes and in front of the ears to prevent infection.

Here's a look at all the busing under my chin:

And since I can't do makeup right now, I took that same picture, cleaned up some of the busing using Photoshop 7, this is what it looked like:

And to help my "Makeup Jones", I loaded the picture up to and fiddled with it (I added light blue contacts too, I couldn't help myself!):

Isn't modern technology wonderful? I feel so much better now!

Until next time, love Tracy

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's Offical!

I had to share this. As I was recuperating I was reading an old Simpsons Comics book #74. When I came across this:


It seems to me you can't get any more religious that Flanders (you know he has a direct link to the Almighty), and if it's OK by him, it OK by me! LOL

P.S. You've got to love the pearls and the mustache together! What a hoot!

Tomorrow I get some of my sutures out. After that maybe an updated photo on my progress!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Things You Forget About

I've been able to wash my face and head three times now and I think I finally have all the gunk out. But now I remember some of the things the plastic surgeon warned me about.

I just shaved and it was weird because I can't feel certain parts of my face. It's like taking a razor to your leather purse and shaving that. Has the same feel.

And another thing he warned me about was that my beard will now be up next to my ear opening and also behind! Let me tell you how weird that feels. Yeow. Now he recommended that after my swelling settles down that I have laser hair removal done in those spots, and I'm definitely going to take him up on it. Surprise, surprise he has a laser clinic and spa, go figure.

I'm now off of the pain medicine and if I need anything I'll take a Tylenol. The swelling is the worst part. When I smile my cheeks feel stiff and it hurts. I've been avoiding comedy on the TV while recuperating, because the few times something funny has come on it literally hurts when I laugh!

Here's a picture I took today, still swollen and I didn't want to goof with any makeup so sorry for the beard shadow.


Please no "Battered Wife" jokes, I don't find that funny. The only time you should raise your hand is when you have a question or in self defense. But I still look like a mess.

It's now a waiting game, and I've got the time, so things are starting to look better!

Hugs and Kisses, Tracy

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Can't Feel My Face!

Now I understand what Joan Rivers meant! I've been told it's a temporary feeling as the nerve endings heal themselves. Maybe she just doesn't wait long enough between operations.

So I had my bandages taken off and sat under a shower to remove all the gunk. It took quite a while and it's still not totally out. I used baby shampoo so that it wouldn't be too harsh. It still feels like the compress is still on. It hurts when I smile or frown. Keep in mind this is not out of the ordinary, there was major work done. My face is swollen and busied and I can feel the sutures around my ears and under my eyes. You probably can't tell by the pictures, but the tiny sutures under my eyes are spaced out and the cuts are actually covered with steri-strips.

I'm still on pain medicine but off of the antibiotic. I'm still out of it and just don't have the energy that I normally do. This Monday I get one set of sutures out then the following Friday the rest.

Maybe tomorrow I'll feel like posting a picture or two, but not today.

I want to say that my wife has been a trooper. She's helped with the icky bandages and stuff, been driving me to the doctor's office and buying me my favorite food. Basically she's an angel. I don't know how else to put it.

Till next time, Tracy

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Survived!

I Survived! It took a lot longer because of complications, but more about that later.


Yesterday I arrived with my wife early, we were supposed to be there at 7:30 A.M., we got there at 7:00. I get out of the car and turn to my wife and said, "Am I nuts?" She says, "No, you've been planning this for a while and you just realized you actually have to go through with it!"

So we're sitting in the lobby of this high-rise office building in Troy, Michigan waiting for the elevators to be turned on. I had to wear loose fitting clothes, so I chose a button pajama top and pull on sweat pants. So I felt kinda awkward in this beautiful granite and marble lobby looking like a homeless person. Then I spot the doctor walking across the 2nd floor balcony who then looks down at us and says hello, and invites us to come on up.

So up to the 11th floor we went. I gave my wife a kiss and I went off to the operation suite that was on the same floor, but around corner. I was lead into the pre-op room where I had to change into what looked like black burlap undies, the usual operation gown with footies. The black gauze underwear was there because they had to get at the adipose tissue from my abdomen to use in my face.

While I was waiting there I started talking to one of the nurses, we were both waiting on the doctor and the anesthetist. She looked at my legs and asked me if I was cold. I said no, and that I shave my legs because I'm a cross-dresser. She didn't seemed phased by this at all, and we got to talking how times have changed. I also told her how we have a GLBT organization at work, and how it helps both the company and it's employees. She thought that was a great idea.

The anesthetist arrived and put in the I.V.. She did a great job by the way, wiped the alcohol off before poking me with a numbing agent, then came the I.V. needle. I didn't feel a thing. The doctor came in had me sit up on the gurney and drew marks all over my face. He had to mark me sitting up because your face will lay differently while you are laying down on the operating table.

At 8:30 A.M. they had me in the operation room. They put me on the operating table and was trying to get me comfortable. I'm 6'4" tall so like Ned in the Dr. Seuss book (Who am I? My name is Ned. I do not like my little bed. This is no good. This is not right. My feet stick out of bed all night.) my feet stuck out on the end. They had to add an extension!

I thought the doctor would have to shave my hair but he said no. He said he hasn't done that in 25 years. He uses a anti-biotic gel to spread the hair apart and is able to cut in between the follicles . Heals faster, looks better.

I don't remember the anesthetist saying anything, but I was out. They used a twilight anesthesia though I don't remember talking to them at all during the operation. I woke up around 12:30 P.M. I remember barely coming out and having to go something awful. The next thing I know, it's we've got to go back in.

I woke up again around 3:30 P.M. I guess I had a couple of popped blood vessels and they weren't sure if it was due to me straining when I had to go or what it was. I was put under a general and the blood vessels were repaired. I believe this was near by the area behind my ears where the sutures were and the draining tubes were located. There were two tubes, one on either side draining into a small pouch that I was able to put in my pajama shirt pocket. It had to be emptied from time to time.

Well I'm sure you want to see this train wreck, as this is what I looked like when I got home.

"Don't Hate Me 'Cause I'm Beautiful!"


All I could eat was saltines and apple juice. I had an ice pack on my eyes 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off and on my neck.

The pain was the worst for the first 24 hours. In the middle of the night I had a splitting headache. This is with pain pills every 4 hours. So my wife took my blood pressure and called the doctor. He said it was to be expected because of the general anesthetic, to think of it like a hang over.

At 11:30 A.M. today I had my bandages off for a short time and had the tubes removed. This has helped reduce the pain. I actually get to shower from the neck down today!

This is what the drainage tubes and container look like:


This is what I look like today, a little less swollen and not so bloody:


The bandages come off tomorrow! Yea!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Before the Big Day

I'm excited and apprehensive. I'm at the point where I just want it over with. I'm re-reading my instructions and making sure I've got it right. I have to stop eating and drinking before midnight, but I'm going to stop sooner than that. I don't want an upset stomach!

I'm going to watch the Tigers game and go to bed. I need to keep my mind off of tomorrow.

So signing off, wish me luck!

Love, Tracy

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Plastic Surgery, the Journey

I have written before that I have lost a good deal of weight, so to reward myself I'm going under the knife this Tuesday, August 12, 2008. This is to deal with the turkey neck that is the result of losing weight along with the fact that my cheeks are now hollow. In addition, I've asked to have the bags under my eyes to be fixed.

Here's the offcial "Before" picture. I am wearing a wig and no makeup:

I've done some soul searching and wondered if I'm doing this strictly for my crosdressing and if so, am I being influenced by the fashion and media industries about how we should look. I'm sure a feminist would jump down my throat if I said, "no way". So yes, there is that influence to some degree, but keep in mind I'm in guy mode much more than gal mode, so that looking good in guy mode is important too. The main thing is when I did lose the weight I felt great. In fact I feel better today than I have in many, many years. Yet when I look in the mirror, there's this haggard looking guy looking back at me. The outside does not match the inside. This is the main reason why I want these procedures.

Many friends have asked me to chronicle this adventure as they would like to know what it's like. My plan is to write and post pictures of myself each day. I'm not sure if I will be up to it or if I can actually put a wig on over my bandages. So I'll have to wait and see what kind of pictures I can come up with. Hopefully I will be up to at least writing about it.

I've already had two meetings with the doctor. The first meeting we talked about what could be done, where it could be done and how much all of this was going to cost. It will cost a little under 12K. Health insurance does not pay for this, so I took a loan out from my retirement account.

I also chose to come out to the doctor about my crossdressing. I wanted him to understand that he did not have to preserve anything that is masculine about me, and that I did not want any feminizing surgery either. He told me he could make me look better in both my male and female presentments. This was a great relief in that he understood what I was all about. I felt it helped that I showed him pictures of me as Tracy, he seemed to understand that I was serious about how I looked. I also told him that I use 3M Transpore tape to pull my turkey neck up for some of my pictures. He said that was essentially what he will do with the face lift, and in addition, he will remove the fat that is under the chin.

We discussed where I was going to have this done. He is the head of plastic surgery at one of the best hospitals in the South-East Michigan area. He has his own "state of the art" surgery suite at his office. In fact, the surgery suite is a copy of the operating room at the hospital. He is board certified in plastic surgery (very important, some plastic surgeons are board certified, but not in plastic surgery). I chose his office because it would be a little more than $800 less expensive and it was out patient. The hospital would have insisted on an overnight stay. I figured too that he would be more at ease in his own suite. I know I would be! He told me that since he's had his own suite, he has only had to use the ambulance three times, and they were all for precautionary reasons. Keep in mind I asked other people for recommendations for an excellent plastic surgeon, and he is one of the best!

I wanted to see his pictures of before and afters, which he showed me. They looked wonderful. The people in those pictures looked like themselves only better, nothing drastic and they all looked very natural. This was very reassuring. At the end of the meeting he turned me over to his assistants where they took my before pictures and we went over the cost of the procedures. One thing I found out is that if I got the three procedures done all at once, I got a discount as I didn't have to pay for the surgery room more that once nor the anesthesia.

It took me a week or so to decide. In order to set up appointments for the surgery and the follow-ups, I had to plunk down a deposit of a thousand dollars. I had a second appointment on July 25 to go over my surgery prep. This is where they tell you what medicine to stop (usually blood thinners like aspirin) and which to start (like mega doses of Vitamin C, for better healing). It's a basic physical and checking reports from other doctors. They also gave me a personalized booklet describing the whole process and what to expect.

For the record, this is the technical mumbo-jumbo of what will take place:

BILATERAL LOWER LID BLEPHAROPLASTY (Removal of excess skin and fat from my lower eyelids)

STANDARD RHYTIDECTOMY (Removal of excess skin from my face, jowl and neck. Tightening the underlying fascia and muscle)

NASOJUGAL FOLDS FAT TRANSFER (Fat transfer to Nasojugal/Nasolabial Folds (Transferring fat from another part of my body to my nasojungal/nasolabial folds)).

On Friday the 8th, I got a call from the anesthetist to go over what medications and existing conditions I have. I asked her point blank if she liked working for this doctor. She told me she has done this type of work for 25 years and have worked the last 10 years with my plastic surgeon. She even had her two sisters that live outstate come and have work done by him. It was a frank and open discussion and really has helped in settling my nerves!

This is not a flattering picture of me, but this is the full picture of the above shot. This is what I would call "Minimalist Crossdressing" I'm wearing a wig and three pieces of clothing:

So wish me luck, the next time I write will be after the surgery!

Love, Tracy

Friday, August 8, 2008

Face Recognition, Just In Time!

I found this fun application at Load up your picture and they show you which celebrities you look like!

I decided to try the Rocker Chick photo to see who she would match:

I was surprised by the results. I didn't realize I had created such an exotic look!

I've had to look up a couple of these beautiful women:


She is a South Korean singer who performs in Korea and Japan.

Kyoko Fukada

Is an actress, model, and singer in Japan.

Tyra Banks

Well I know about Tyra Banks, I watch The Soup on the E! Entertainment Channel and they use Tyra and her show as fodder for there brand of comedy.

Ayumi Hamasaki

She's a Japanese song-writer, singer and former actress.

Lucy Lawless

Yes, Xena: Warrior Princess, wow I think that's great. That was one of my favorite shows!

I put in another picture that is closer to everyday and it's interesting how different the results are:

This is just in time because I'm going to have plastic surgery this coming Tuesday. I hope to have a blow by blow (ew poor choice of words) report of my experience.

Till next time, take care, Tracy

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Marc Jacobs & Transgender Advertising

Marc Jacobs is not the first nor the last to use transgender themes for advertising. Here's one from the now defunct Clothestime clothes stores:

I liked that ad, they used a very convincing TG person and got the point across. I hope this ad didn't kill their store.

And I'm not going to rag on Marc too much, he had designed tee shirts for the Human Rights Campaign (albeit with his name interspersed within the design), but I believe we as transgendered are being used as "edgy". His homepage opens to a drag review video, so I guess he's on some sort of transgender bender.

Here's two picture ads I found in Lucky Magazine:



To me the dresses don't look all that bad, especially when I look at them modeled by a woman, they look much better. When they are modeled by the male model Cole Mohr and photographed by Juergen Teller, they don't do anything for me.

So I guess my questions should are: Is Marc just trying to be "edgy"? Is this just creative license? Does he think if he uses a male model that us TG folk will beat a path to his door?

Something tells me it's the former and not the later, as I am not enamored by the ads. But on the positive side, he is bending the gender rules in the mainstream media. Since I found these ads in Lucky Magazine (which is geared for 16-24 year old GG's), maybe this audience will be more "open" to this idea and don't see us as threatening. I sure hope so.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Colortration Convert

I'd like to thank Dana, a friend of mine on, for suggesting Colortration for my foundation and beard cover. I think I'm a convert! I ordered their 6 color tester and I think I found a new solution!

Here's a picture of me without makeup, my beard is probably an hour after shaving. I know it's not much but it bothers me:


Here are the first 4 colors. Number 4 was the only one that came close and it was still too light and pink in my opinion.


I thought 7 or 10 would be too dark, but I actually like the olive tones in number 10. I think I'm somewhere between 7 and 10 actually.


So as an experiment, I went ahead and used number 10 all over as a foundation, what do you think? Oh, and this is a new wig, same color and brand as my long blond one but just shorter. It's like, "Oh look, I just got a hair cut!"


Oh, and by the way for this shot, I was wearing no bra or forms! (Please don't say it, thank you)

Till next time, Tracy

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ranma 1/2 (らんま½) Japanese Manga

OK, it seams as if I'm on a Japanese bender here. But I've known about Ranma 1/2 for some time, but just recently bought the first volume of the manga. I had always worried about what people would think if I were to bring the comic book up to the cash register. I worry no more as I am becoming more open about my own proclivities.

Ranma 1/2 is a Japanese manga about a young boy who when dowsed with cold water turns into a girl. His father when dowsed with cold water turns into a panda. The father character is more for comic relief than anything else. However, the main premise is a brilliant way to explore what it means to be a man or a women, and thereby examine what it means to be macho or feminine.

This story could have been setup rather easily with Ranma Saotome (the 16 year old boy) showing up at the dojo and then turn into a girl. But instead, he shows up as a girl with his father as a panda. The dojo's owner, Soun Tendo has three daughters Kasumi, Nabiki and Akane. Akane is a tomboy, she is the youngest and matches the age of Ranma. The two fathers have promised their offspring in an arranged marriage so that the dojo can continue. The changeling Ranma is betrothed to Akane the tomboy. It is no surprise that the style of karate taught at the dojo's name is translated as the "School of Indiscriminate Grappling", more commonly known in the West as "Anything Goes Martial Arts".

Akane is not only a tomboy but she hates boys. Thinks they are overrated and since she's a martial arts practitioner herself, she is able to take on all the boys at school. Ranma is immature and full of himself/herself. A cute scene at the very beginning is when Akane doesn't know that Ranma is a boy and asks Ranma for a match. Akane loses, but is so relieved that she at least, "Didn't lose to a boy!"

There are some key scenes that really reflect the conflict between transgendered people and society, between male to female transgenered and genetic females.

For example, Ranma says it's OK for him to see a women naked because he has seen himself naked. He adds, that he is "Better Built" as a female than genetic females. He gets flattened by a tea table by Akane when he says this and his father observes, "Now that he had coming". If you want to get a genetic girl's ire up, just say how feminine you are over her. You will wish those words never left your lips. Since he's immature there are times he doesn't even realize he's switched genders.
You can tell from this first volume that Ranma is trying to find where he/she fits in. He is approached by a suitor while a girl and yet doesn't know how to handle the situation. In fact the same suitor that likes him/her is also smitten with Akane. Akane is sweet on her doctor, but the doctor loves Akane's sister Kasumi. It can only get more messy and fun as the stories unfold.

This series of stories was and is one of the most popular series in Japan, it ran from 1987 to 1996 and sold over 22 million copies. They were authored by the female artist Rumiko Takahashi and all her works combined have sold over 100 million copies!

I hope you get a chance to check these stories out. As one who is within the transgendered spectrum, I find the story lines delightful.

This has been my question for a long time:


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Another Reason to Love the Japanese - Yasumasa Morimura

Yasumasa Morimura is a Japanese photographer that creates interpretations of famous painters by placing himself in the pictures. He also does pictures of himself as famous movies stars like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.


He's done such a good job, that his pictures hang in some of the most prestigious modern art museums in the world such as the Luhring Augustine Gallery in New York city. He has become my hero, this is what I have aspired to do without knowing of his work.

I recently discovered him while in my photography class. I had submitted a photo of myself as a Geisha, and my professor at first did not realize it was me. The class discussed the photo on it's own merits, then the inevitable question came up as to who the model was. I said it was a self-portrait. The class was impressed as was evidenced by their positive reactions. My professor said I was like a reverse Yasumasa Morimura in that I was interpreting a Japanese theme and he interprets Western themes. So I just had to look him up!

Not only does he blur gender lines, but being Japanese, his interpretations ask the question: Would these images be as popular as they are if they were of Japanese people instead of people of Western heritage?

And, here's an example of him blurring the lines between painting and photography. This is Portrait (Queen and Dog) 1991:


So please look him up, check out his Gallery. He is another "Gender Illusionist" for me to look up to.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Time for New Pictures!

I haven't posted new pictures in a while, so here is rock & roll picture:

There are more rock & roll pictures at my New Picture Gallery

Here's some baseball themed ones:



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What's With the Female Masks?


I said in an earlier post Photo Enhancing Software and it's Uses I would explain later what the picture was all about. If you remember, this was a picture of four school girls, each of which was me in a female latex mask, of a different style.

But wow, talk about taboos. For some odd reason a female mask is even hard for some cross-dressers to understand. I get comments from CD friends like: 'It looks creepy' or 'you don't need it'. And, I get questions like: 'Why would you wear one?', 'Would you wear it in public?', or 'Don't you sweat in those things?'

And it must be an unwritten taboo. If you go to any normal costume website and look at the latex masks, you will see only a few female masks. Usually only a "Witch" or an "Old Lady" mask is available. Sometimes a prominent figure like Hilary Clinton will be featured. But for the most part, nothing. I have an old Planet of the Apes mask from the Don Post Studio. Don Post was one of the better known mask makers, their ads used to be in the Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. The only Don Post Studio female mask I can remember was a Lily Munster mask.


Q. Why would you wear a latex female mask?

A. Maybe you're Shawn and Marlon Wayans in White Chicks. But one bad movie aside, one good reason, the reason I started, was because at the time I didn't think I looked that good. This was especially true when I was overweight. But some cross-dressers wear masks because they want to look younger or they may have a beard. Other's are so scared of being "outed", that they feel they need a mask to hide from a not so supportive public. But there is also the "Mission Impossible" thrill. Many people watching that show loved it when a character would pull off their face to reveal their true self. And besides, don't we all wear some kind of mask throughout the day to hide our true selves?

Q. Where would you wear them?

A. Only the bravest of the brave would dare go out in public with a mask. There may be some clubs that would accept them, but for the most part this is more of a fantasy type experience enjoyed in the home.

Q. What are the masks made of?

A. Latex, but there are two types of latex masks. One type, the latex is poured into a mold, the process is called slip or slush latex. The second is called foam latex where the latex is baked. The first type is easier to make, but the mask is heavier and less porous. The second is very light, porous but the process takes longer. The ones I've shown on the blog are of the foam latex type. To me they aren't that heavy and you don't sweat as badly as the slip style masks.

Q. Where do you buy these?

A. There's a number of places on the Internet. Here's some links:

Female Latex Masks by Kerry
Greyland Film
Nikki's Monster Shop
Ebay use key words female and mask

Q. How many people wear these masks?

A. Well there's at least 500 that I know of. This is the number of subscribers to Kerry's Mailing list. So I would imagine the number would be greater than that. And a real good site to see more maskers is the Female Mask Homepage.

So there are a number of good reasons for a cross-dresser to consider a mask. And I'm sure for the the fans of latex and cross-dressing, these masks would just be a perfect combination!

Till Next Time, Tracy

Monday, June 9, 2008

The X-Men, The Cross-dresser And the "Pink Fog"

Sounds like a great movie title doesn't it? Well I watched "X-Men The Last Stand" this weekend for the first time (yea, I know, I don't get out much). It was the first time I identified with the mutants.

Hmm, let's see now, why would that be?

Mutants are:

  • Feared
  • Disliked
  • Closeted
  • Misunderstood
  • Have awesome powers
  • And need to be cured.

Yep, that's me alright. I'm not the only one to notice the parallels either. Dr. Richard/Alice Novic, M.D., of Alice in Genderland fame spotted it too. This is from her blog article "The Two Types of Transwomen"

But intersex conditions can just as legitimately be seen as simple differences, like green eyes or red hair, or strange, special powers. Rent the X-Men III, and tell me the writer didn’t have GLBT folks in mind.

So what are the similarities?


That's right, hide the children there's a cross-dresser in the neighborhood. Honey cast your eyes askance so that you will not gaze upon her finery. I don't understand this attitude, we are truly harmless. We're acting like loving compassionate women for cripes sake. What's to fear? Like the X-men I only use my special powers for good!


The mutants were hated for what they were even though they had no choice in the matter. Cross-dressers too have no choice in what and who they are. By all accounts we are born this way. It doesn't help when religion weighs in with an odd reference or two. Yea, the next one to roll out Deuteronomy 22:5 on me and what an abomination I am, they just might have to fear me! Honestly, this old saw that they burned Joan of Arc on is way over rated. What's to dislike? Most surveys have found that cross-dressers are above average in intelligence, marry intelligent women (my wife's a Mensa member thank you very much) and are represented within many professions. So chances are you know or someone you know, knows a cross-dresser. So why don't you see more of us cross-dressers?


Oh, yea that's right. Just like the mutants we cannot live openly among the "normal" people. Only a few strong willed people like the aforementioned Dr. Novic are truly out. Or in the case of the movie, Kelsey Grammer's character Dr. Henry 'Hank' McCoy. Even though we would not harm anyone or cause anymore trouble than anyone else on average, we fear loosing friends, family and our livelihood. There are those of us who venture out in public and try to be as discreet as possible. But for most, the thought of looking foolish by being found out overrides any chance of going anywhere.


Yes, us cross-dressers are confused with drag queens and transsexuals. Yes we do have things in common with them, but for the most part, male to female cross-dressers are heterosexual and are not looking for surgery. We have a female component within us so we are not all male and not all female. And each one of us has a differing amount or percentage of the two genders. So dressing and assuming the personae of a woman brings out the feminine side of us. This is not much different than when Stacy and Clinton from "What Not To Wear" help a genetic "Tom Boy" female find her feminine side. (See the May 30, 2008 episode Natalie from Orange County you'll have to download the Move player first). So like the mutants, we are misunderstood and so are our powers.

Have Awesome Powers

And yes, cross-dressers have awesome powers like the X-men. We are like two people in one both male and female. How may men have the guts to even wear women's clothes? How many women wouldn't love to have a man to help her with her makeup and clothes? One that understands that compassion and nurturing are good traits for a man. One who is not all macho and violent yet can still fix the faucet and kill that spider when needed. And being secretive, we can hide whole wardrobes! Heck, we should all be working for the CIA!

And Need to be Cured

Yes since we are all of the above we need to be eradicated even though we are harmless, loving, have a wide range of emotions, creative, and know how to match shoes to a Spring outfit.

So Tracy, what does the "Pink Fog" have anything to do with this movie?

The "Pink Fog" is a term we use when we are blinded by our own cross-dressing and ignoring the rest of our life. This happens from time to time and us cross-dressers work hard to keep our cross-dressing and the rest of our lives in balance. So when I saw the character Jean Grey look like this:


I thought I know that look, that's me when I'm in the "Pink Fog"!


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tracy's Place, Now With a Subscription Feed

A quick post here. I've just added a subscription feed to my Blog, so if you subscribe, you will be notified that I've posted something! Sounds pretty cool. I have yet to try it myself and I'll probably have to tweak it along the way.

So, let me know if you like this feature. I have some new articles coming soon, so stay tuned!


P.S. If you use igoogle for your home page, you can add my Blog gadget by just pressing the button under the feed!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I'll Be at the SCC This Fall!

This is me dancing:


I am so happy to be able to go to the 18th Annual Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta Georgia this fall. It's from September 30 through October 5, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia. It's a five day symposium about all things transgendered.

Last year they had four sessions a day for three days with about nine different topics per session to choose from. There will be topics on how to look and sound more feminine. These will include classes like; tips and tricks with makeup, voice coaching, and how dress for your body type. They will also have classes that are practical, such as how to protect yourself, political activism, and how to bring transgender awareness to your place of business. I'm sure they will have vendor booths of all kinds of products and services. They may even have a costume contest!

They will also be bringing back the job fair this year. So this will be the 2nd Annual Transgender Career Expo 2008 and will be held on Friday, October 3rd.

There will be excursions and dinners that will be on an off-site from the hotel. And I'm sure I will meet a lot of my friends and readers for the first time in person!

Meeting my fellow crossdressers, that I have met on the Internet, is what I'm looking forward to the most. They have been the kindest and most supportive people I have ever met. Yes, even more so than my shrink! I'm really looking forward to sharing time with them and also meeting new friends.

And even though my wife does not read my blog nor sees me dressed, she is tolerant of my crossdressing and has allowed me to go on this excursion. So I thank you dear, from the bottom of my heart.

So, all the things I have been talking about on this blog, about improving myself and being a "Gender Illusionist" will have a target of sorts. I'm using this event as inspiration to finish these things that I have started.

Love, Tracy

Saturday, May 10, 2008

So Who's More of a Man?

I ask this question not to establish a true comparison between crossdressers and non-crossdressers. It is rhetorical in nature.

But one of the main attributes of being a man is being strong and not being scared. But in talking to every day guys, they wouldn't even entertain the idea of wearing say a pink shirt let alone a dress of any kind. They wouldn't be caught dead in the women's clothes section looking at clothes. What are the scared of? Will they become emasculated? Will that bra reach out and bite them? Will they lose their Mojo? What takes more guts and daring? The guy that cowers in front of a piece of cloth, or one who is ready and willing to wear it and not give a darn what people think?

When I hear the kind of derogatory remarks usually made against crossdressers, that of being weak or a sissy, I have to laugh. Sorry, believe it or not you have seen a crossdresser at some time in your life and did not know it. They had the courage to go out looking totally different than what a man should look like, and to me, that takes a lot of courage. And to pull off this illusion in public took a lot of confidence in who and what they are. They know that they can switch back to being male at anytime. That nothing has been lost, but something has been gained. That a part of them repressed by society has been set free.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Photo Enhancing Software and it's Uses

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!

Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.
Scottish author & novelist (1771 - 1832

Photo enhancing software is now a fact of life. There's a famous video on YouTube called 'Model Evolution With Makeup & Photoshop':

So you can see with Photoshop you could probably turn Popeye into Gisele Bündchen. OK, I know what would be the point.

I'm just learning the basics of Photoshop now. The most important concept with either Adobe's Photoshop or Corel Paint Shop Pro is the idea that each picture is composed of different layers, much like a sandwich. Since you can edit each layer separately it's easy to move and adjust objects in the picture. I used this web-site to get the basic idea of how to use PhotoShop 7.0 Beginners' Guide to Adobe Photoshop

A fellow crossdresser friend Darla G turned me on to this web site: PhotoshopCAFE I especially liked the cast shadow tutorial.

I've also bought this book:

The Photoshop 7 Wow! Book (WOW!) by Jack Davis

This book is really loaded with instructions, quite dense. Photoshop is one of the most feature laden software packages, so I didn't want one of those "Dummies" or "Idiots" books that I usually grab. I don't need jokes, I need to learn the mad compositing skills!

So how far should I go with this technology?

It's very tempting to go all out with this software thinking I have to compete with Cosmopolitan and Vanity Fair Models. But that is not my goal.

I am determined to do my gender illusionment the old fashioned way, with makeup, clothing camouflage and just plain hard work. The photos on this blog have only been cropped and had the lighting adjusted. From time to time I have taken a good picture and since I'm using an inexpensive camera get dust hallos. I do edit these out. I have posted pictures elsewhere and one time I had a sore from a bug bite on my leg, this too was edited out. But, I can't see making changes to my face to be more feminine or making myself look skinner. My bottom line is: If I can't create the illusion in person, I won't do it. I do plan to go out of my house some day, and meet the people that have seen me on my blog and in other pictures. The last thing I want them to say is, "Who are you, and what did you do with Tracy"?

It's a good tool that can be abused. One use may be to manipulate things to see what would make me look better. A sort of virtual plastic surgery. Now these types of pictures could be very useful. But these would be working photos, and only I would see them (or my plastic surgeon!).

One cool thing I do want to do is since I am trapped in my man-cave, er, Tracy's Workshop©, is to place my picture in different locals. The gender illusionist that does this really well is Grae Phillips. She not only does the female models but also models as her male self. Sometimes is the same picture!

Here's some of my first attempts:

Tracy At The Beach!


Four Bad News School Girls

This is a new one. I'll have to explain who you're seeing here. This is me using four different female foam latex masks. The female latex mask thing needs a post all it's own, but in the meantime, enjoy:


Oh, and I did use Photoshop one time for a funny picture of my mascara running, but it was blatantly obvious and I even said it was done with Photoshop. This is what it looked like:

Darn You (Fill in the blank)

In posting this for everyone to see I hope I can keep to my promise and not go down that slippery slope.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Alternate Forms of Gender Illusionment - The Japanese

I discovered this while looking for different makeup techniques. Specifically appliances such as foam latex and silicone for making the face more feminine. I found a site where men use latex masks to look more feminine. The main website for this is called Maskon. I may do a post about that another time. From there I found a link to a Japanese site called Doll House. This Japanese site is not easy to navigate, but this was my first introduction to some of these different forms of gender expression.

First of all let me state that I'm not an expert on Japanese culture. Nor have I traveled to Japan. So what I have gathered here is information I have gleaned from books, the Internet, and other people on message boards. But most recently I've talked to a fellow blogger Silphy. She has tied a lot of loose ends as it were and given me insight as to the inspiration for these forms of expression. Thank you Silphy!

I was going to talk about four different types of Japanese Gender Illusionment: Kigurumi (着ぐるみ), Cosplay (コスプレ), Zentai (ゼンタイ), and Visual Kei (ヴィジュアル系). I was not going to talk about Kabuki (歌舞伎) even though this may be an underlying source of these other four. The reason: even though there was a time that only women performed both roles in Kubki theater and then all men, this seems to correspond to European theater in Shakespeare's time. And, the most characteristic point of Kabuki is the stylized performances, not what gender plays what role. Also, Kabuki formed in a time when homosexuality was considered elegant in Japan. I'm told it is called Shudō. It is considered different than being a modern gay person in the West. I did not want to address sexual orientation within this post. This is going to be hard enough as it is.

But I'm going to tackle Kigurumi and Cosplay only in this post as they relate to the Japanese fandom of Manga and Anime.

Kigurumi in the context of this post is the portrayal of female Manga and/or Anime characters with the use of large costume heads, and elaborate costumes by male participants. Manga would correspond to our comic books, and Anime to our cartoons or animation. Now having said that, Manga and Anime have there own style of drawing and stories. You have to see the variety and diversity of the materials to understand how broad the subjects are. The one Anime you may be familiar with is Pokémon or maybe Sailor Moon, but this is a small portion of the thousands of Manga titles. The Japanese of all ages are crazy for Manga and Anime, so much so they call a person so involved Otaku or an obsessed fan. There is nothing in America to compare this obsession to, maybe pro football is the closest and even then, I don't think so. Otaku watch many different Anime shows on TV, read Manga, go to conventions and festivals that are huge. They collect figurines, pictures and posters of their favorite Anime characters. As an extension of this whole obsession, there are those that dress like their favorite Anime characters. While dressed they do role play, they go to conventions and have their pictures taken at locations around Japan where their character might be from, a sort of pilgrimage

Here's a picture from Silphy's Blog

Photo provided by Tsukino-Tsubasa:

Silphy is the second from the right, her character is Misuzu.

Kigurumi can also mean animal or what we call mascot costumes. Think Goofy and Mikey Mouse at Disney World. Or, they may dress in a Gundam type robot costumes, again think Transformers. From what I gather, the majority of Japanese associate Kigurumi with these types of costumes. So the Kigurumi that I'm talking about could be considered a sub-culture, though it is more related to the Manga/Animie scene. Like any of this stuff, it doesn't always translate well.

Cosplay which is derived from "Costume Play" is also Manga/Anime driven. It is dressing as your favorite character, except without the mask. They are going for a more realistic look. Women and girls are most attracted to this in Japan because they can easily portray both male and female characters. In my opinion, as to why they can do this more easily, is that a lot of the male characters in Manga/Anime are more androgynous than the male he-man type comic book characters here in America, such as X-men or Superman. Some males do participate in Cosplay and portray female roles, but this is not the majority. Sometimes this is called Crossplay a form of Cosplay. And again, there are female Kigurumi players, but they are in the minority.

Here's a picture of two cosplayers titled "Chii and Dark Chii"

Kigurumi attracts male participants (like Silphy by the way) because they have a harder time portraying the female characters due to (again my opinion) the female Manga characters are extremely feminine and/or young girls. It is a lot easier to use a mask and wig, and spend your time getting the female mannerisms right than to fight your biology.

Silphy told me that the history of Kigurumi started with Manga, moving to Anime, then figurines then Kigurumi. Silphy says:
But today, kigurumi (also figure, otaku related cultures) come from different sources: novel(Suzumiya-Haruhi), game(Kanon), DTM(Hatsune-Miku), or anime without original manga(Evangelion).

I'm a big fan of these different expressions of femininity. I'm amazed at the inventiveness of the Japanese, and surprised it hasn't caught on as much here in the states. The younger generation is more in tune with these things, and it maybe more prevalent in the future.