Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What I Learned from Kinky Boots - A blog for Suddenly Fem by CiCi Kytten

I attended a performance of the Tony Award-winning musical, Kinky Boots, at the spectacular Pantages Theatre in Hollywood last weekend. And I had a ball. It was really fun. Great story. Great music.  Gorgeous cast. 
 
I also dressed for the event.  Wearing my own pair of hot red “kinky boots.” In short, I had a blast.


After the show... Kinky Boots in Hollywood!
And yet. Something was amiss. There were moments in the performance that were difficult to watch.  Or to hear.  When a friend asked me how it was, I said, “I laughed. I cried. I cringed.”
 
I hate to say that I cringed because it is a fun musical.  Funny and thoughtful.  And probably a nice diversion for mainstream tastes. But I did cringe at parts. On a positive note, Kinky Boots showed me just how far the trans community has come in the past 11 years. (The movie about a struggling shoe manufacturer that finds success by producing thigh high boots for drag queens first came out in 2005.) But it made me wonder if the rest of the world has noticed our progress.
 
I hate to be critical, but a lot has happened in the past 11 years. And the script could use some updating.  Was anyone trans involved behind the scenes? Apparently not. 
 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Packing and Traveling Tips: Crossdressing on the Go!

by Carollyn Olson

We’ve had a number of friends ask us how we manage to pack outfits for boy and girl mode into a single carry-on bag (and shoulder bag) for a mixed business and pleasure trip. So this is the perfect format for us to share our packing list and tricks with you.
We typically pack clothes for 2-5 days, which can cover most situations and takes up about half of our carry-on bag. All items are synthetic, wrinkle free, and light weight. Many of the Suddenly Fem fashions fit the bill and take up very little room in a small suitcase or travel bag.
Mixing and matching is the most important. Key colors are black, tan, brown, and one bright complementary color—such as purple, fuchsia, or blue. White and silver can be accents. Everything must have the possibility of being worn at least twice, but in different combinations.


For makeup, transfer your cream foundation and other items into 2-inch diameter by ½-inch high screw top containers. For liquids, use tiny ¼-inch cylindrical screw top vials. And buy small 1-inch square containers of eye shadow colors for blush, bronzer, and highlighter (for contouring).
For eyes, a small four color eye shadow kit is perfect. A tube of lipstick the same color as your beard tint is invaluable. Cut any long lip liner, eyeliner, and brow pencils in half and use combination sharpener/liner caps. A small lipstick-sized tube of Vaseline works as makeup remover, skin moisturizer, and lip gloss. A small capped blush brush, combo eye shadow swab and brush, and 3-inch powder compact with mirror are the tools you need. Buy the smallest possible lipstick and mascara you can find at the drugstore.
A makeup kit fits into a zipper pouch the size of a grade school pencil pouch. And bring along a Handi-wipe in a Ziploc bag to keep your makeup off of the hotel towels; the Handi-wipe can be washed, wrung out, and dries quickly. 
Also carry a small battery-operated razor. If you dab rather than slide the razor, you can trim stubble without removing foundation. When done shaving, all you will need is a light touch up of beard tint, foundation, and powder.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Swing of Things: Super Fem Swing Dress Review

 

By Carollyn Olson

I waited with guarded optimism for the Suddenly Fem swing dress to arrive in the mail.
I had questioned my reasons for purchasing the dress over and over again since placing the order from the fabulous Suddenly Fem fall catalog.

“Was I making the right decision?” I asked myself. “Was the dress ‘too young’ for me? Could I look half as good as the lovely trans girl model in the catalog? Was I insane?”
All my fears were dismissed when I received the swing dress and wore it for the first time. The dress was above and beyond my expectations.

The swing dress is a sassy combination of elegance and style with its integrated full petticoat under a full skirt, which adds volume and movement to your hips, and the sleek and fashionable black lace see-through back and sleeves.

The entire dress design immediately enhanced my appearance, especially with the help of a corset, and helped me to create a daring hourglass figure. The softness of the stretch fabric material made the dress so comfortable to wear and its 22-inch back zipper allowed me to step in to the dress with ease. I did not add a belt, as shown in the catalog, but that too is an option to provide a little different look to what is already a stunning dress.


I tried to be a little more daring than usual due to the dress’s beautiful lacy back. I went bra less to keep any unneeded straps showing through the lace pattern. I used a spray adhesive to attach my breast forms to my chest, thus eliminating the need for a bra. And the results were better than I expected. My breasts stayed in perfect position, giving me even more freedom of movement.
The swing dress is perfect for any flirty or special occasion. I can see myself wearing the dress for a girl’s night out on the town, to a semi-formal party, or to any special occasion where a little formality is required. No matter where you wear the swing dress, you'll feel extra girly in its effervescent look and you’ll draw more than your share of compliments.

To Read more of Carollyn's Articles Visit the Suddenly Fem Learning Center

The Girl Who Said “Own It” - A Blog for Suddenly Fem by CiCi Kytten

Ever since my Tedx UCR talk was posted online a few months ago, I’ve received a lot of nice comments.  And I’m totally flattered.  That evening, and all of the work that led up to it, represented a real highlight for me in 2015 as well as a major milestone in my personal life.  

Now, a few months down the line, my friends and coworkers often tease me about the talk’s central theme.  Usually in lighthearted joking, but sometimes in more serious conversations. To the point where, in certain circles, I became known as, “The Girl Who Said Own It.”


I was not the girl who said, "Own it."

But that’s not true at all.  In my talk, I tell of my first time out in the general public at a Las Vegas casino. But I was not the girl who said, “Own It.”  My friend was.  She was the one who gave me the advice. So, in a sense, I wasn’t the girl who said, “Own it,” I was the girl who heard, “Own it.”

We’re a fairly close community here in Southern California.  There are times when it feels like everyone knows everyone else.  And everyone else’s business.  So people immediately started guessing who my unnamed friend might be.  I’ve heard a variety of different guesses – all good friends of mine from the trans community. All good friends from whom I’ve received a lot of great advice.

But I didn’t know any of them when I first started out.  I had chatted a little online, but I hadn’t made any close friends in the early 00’s.  Those bonds didn’t form until later in the decade when I became more involved in different chat rooms and, of course, when I started going out on a regular basis.  

So, no, the girl who said, “Own It,” wasn’t a trans girl. She wasn’t a WildSide girl (My first walk through the casino happened about 5 years before the first Viva WildSide event.) She wasn’t a fellow club goer or party girl.  She wasn’t a longtime online confidante. I met all those wonderful people later on.

The girl who said, “Own It,” was my wife.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Walk in Our Shoes - A Blog for Suddenly Fem by CiCi Kytten


Not long ago, my friend Melissa gathered several years of confidence, summoned every bit of her inner strength, and came out to her parents as trans. When she boarded her plane from L.A. to the Midwest, she was full of optimism. After all, her openness and sunny personality had already won over countless friends, family members, and even total strangers here in Southern California.

But on this day, her luck ran out. Her parents reacted with rejection and disgust. And she was crushed. She fears that she may never see or talk to her parents again.

Not long after that, my buddy Amy, also confident and secure in her transition, was preparing to attend the funeral of a childhood friend. Sadly, as the event approached, Amy was informed that despite a lifetime of friendship and shared memories, she would not be welcome at the funeral. Simply because of who she is.

I could go on. Stories like these are commonplace in our community. Obviously, we’ve made great strides in the past few years. But social change takes time. And when the people in your life are behind the times, the effect on you can be devastating.

Do you really need to take a walk in our shoes to understand us?
Trans kids are still committing suicide, trans people are still being murdered at alarming rates, and nice people who have done absolutely nothing wrong (like my two friends above) experience damaging emotional tragedies on a fairly common basis.

And I’m sorry, but I just don’t understand.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Reluctant Rebels - A blog by CiCi Kytten for Suddenly Fem

Not long ago, I was having dinner with a friend of mine from Down Under, internet latex darling Nicci Tristan. We were reminiscing about our lives in tg/cd world.  We chatted about our childhood, and coming out, and all of the anxiety involved.

“Reluctant rebels,” she said. “That’s what we are. Reluctant rebels.”

I think there are a lot of us in the gender non-conforming community that can identify with that phrase.  Most of us didn’t set out to be social revolutionaries or gender outlaws.  For most of us, that’s the last thing we wanted.  We don’t have a history of political or social activism.  Most of us have led fairly quiet, mainstream, hetero-normative lives.



But something wasn’t working for us.  Something was off.  Sometimes it took us a long time to figure out what was going on. Some of us are still trying to make sense of it all. Still trying to determine where we belong on the gender spectrum

We never set out to cause a stir or upset the conventional “normalness” of our lives.  Some say that gender-noncomformists are driven by a need for attention. (And some of us do adore attention.) But many of us do not. Many of us don’t particularly enjoy making a fuss, upsetting our friends, or causing uncomfortable conversations around the dinner table.

And yet here we are.  A group of fairly conventional people from fairly conventional backgrounds behaving in some pretty unconventional ways. Calling into question all manner of social traditions and beliefs, and sometimes challenging the very mainstream values that we grew up with -- and have always believed in.

I don’t know about you. But for me, this has caused quite an emotional quandary. For me, this trans phenomenon… for lack of a better word… seemed very odd and alien when it first presented itself.  And yet something about it seemed entirely natural.  It seemed like second nature.  But it wasn’t second nature.  It was my “first nature.” It just took me a long time to figure that out.

My “first nature” was hidden from me at a very early age. Not by some insidious plot.  Not by homophobic or transphobic feelings on the part of my parents. No, my first nature was hidden from me by centuries of rigid gender roles assigned long ago in countries all over the world – adopted and embraced by millions, and poured into the societal soup that became small-town America in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

What really blows me away, however, was the realization of just how young I was when my mind was shaped and my thought processes began to form. It took me until the age of 40 to realize that what I considered to be my basic gender instincts (to act and behave in a masculine way) were not actually instinctual at all. They were learned behaviors -- learned behaviors that were taught to me by my family and friends and society as a whole when I was a toddler.  Perhaps even an infant.

I’m sure some gender-specific urges are hard-wired into us biologically.  (I’m way out of my element when I try to talk of science.)  But it seems to me that the large majority of my behaviors were taught to me. Programmed, perhaps.

No one ever presented me with a list of do’s and don’ts for my behavior.  Or a list of male traits and female traits.  They didn’t need to.  The minds of young children are like sponges. We soak up everything.  We’re learning sharks – hunting and digesting everything in sight.  And everything in sight told me that I was male.  I was a boy – no different than my three brothers. I had a penis. I had short hair. I played sports. I was a boy. And I would grow up to become a man.

Those lessons were not to be questioned. They were as clear and as concrete as adding 2 + 2.  Factual. Scientific. Indisputable.

Or so it seemed.  

Today, as we emerge into mainstream society, the world is starting to take a second look at gender and gender roles. People are calling this trans tipping point of the current trans empowerment movement.  (NOTE: There were other key moments and brave individuals long before any of us. Look them up!  Know your history!)  But in today’s movement, the media points to celebrities such as Chaz Bono, Laverne Cox, and Caitlyn Jenner... or to the increase in trans-related news stories, films and television series... or to major strides in new legislation for the LGBT community as a whole.

But if you ask me, it all started with you.  The non-famous, non-political, non-rebels of the trans community.  The cd/tv/tg girls who one day decided to get off their computers and get out into the world. Or to the clubs. Or to trans events. Or Pride events. Or to the local convenience store or gas station. 

I’ve heard countless stories from girls whose first nights out were nothing more than a quick trip to the late-night drive-through.  Can you relate? You got in your car under cover of darkness – totally terrified – and drove around the block to some 24-hour fast food joint. You never got out of your car.  You barely looked the geeky teen-aged clerk in the eye. And then you zoomed right straight back home.

And you weren’t even hungry! As you drove, you were hoping that nobody saw you -- while simultaneously hoping that everyone saw you. How good you looked!  How femme you looked!  How daring! It wasn’t much of an outing. Not much of an adventure. Just a quick drive around the block. But you did it. And as you did it, you changed the world.

I sincerely believe that.

Nicci Tristan
Gina Bigham

Another really good friend of mine, Gina Bigham, coordinator for cultural arts at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, once told me that her activism was the simple act of stepping outside her front door. And being visible. And in a community of reluctant rebels -- a community that needed (and still needs) visibility -- that act of stepping out, showing our faces, and making our presence known – even if it was only to an unsuspecting, pimply-faced, teen-aged geek in the drive-though window at Micky D.’s - may have been the most important and most courageous act of all.

That was your tipping point. And the world hasn't been the same since.


Take care out there.

Stay safe. Stay smart. Stay sexy.
xoxo,
CiCi


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Ghosts of Stonewall - A Blog for Suddenly Fem by CiCi Kytten

(October is LGBT History Month. Please do not mistake me for a historian. I’m a blogger. Like many others, I’m trying to make sense of where we’re going by looking back at where we’ve been. This blog was written with more than a little help from online historical accounts and Wikipedia.)

On a recent trip to New York City, my friend told me a story about the old theaters of Broadway.  Sitting in those old halls during the intermissions between acts, I could imagine the many actors, musicians and stagehands who have worked those stages -- some of them dating back to the 1800‘s. And, apparently, some of those performers might never have left. The theaters are said to be haunted. Therefore, every night, a light is traditionally left on to illuminate the stage -- in order to ward off the ghosts of Broadway.

I had a wonderful weekend in New York. I spent most of my time near Broadway or Time Square. I saw some shows. Saw some sights. But I wanted to take some time to visit the Stonewall Inn.  

And I didn’t just want to visit. I didn’t just want to pose for a few selfies outside on Christopher Street. I wanted to spend some time inside the inn. To have a drink. To shoot some pool. To sit quietly in the back room and soak up the history. I wanted to  spend a little time with the ghosts of Stonewall.

Spending some time with the ghosts of Stonewall.
Sylvia Rivera and Masha P. Johnson
Of course, you can’t really visit Stonewall. You would need a time machine to truly visit.  The Village has changed. The gay and trans communities have changed.  Anti-LGBT legislation and police enforcement have changed (somewhat). And to a certain extent, the very nature of being gay or lesbian or trans has changed. With changes in social acceptance and legislation comes confidence.  And with confidence comes a whole new way of behaving.  Of interacting with the rest of the world. Of thinking.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Hater in Your Head - a blog by CiCi Kytten for Suddenly Fem


So many haters out there. And their numbers are growing. We could have predicted this. As we become more visible. More loud. More a part of everyday life. The haters are going to rise up to match us.
And those haters aren’t just random loudmouths off in some distant city or rural outpost.  They’re not all ignorant jerks hiding among the anonymous riffraff of the internet.  The haters are right there in your community.  In your place of work. In your place of worship. In your very own home.

As members of the trans/cd community, we’re often hesitant to come out to those who are close to us. We know that those around us can be conservative. Closed-minded. Firmly entrenched in traditional thought and convention.

But here’s the thing.  You’re one of them!
Silencing the Hater in Your Head



Monday, August 17, 2015

Watch the Ted Talk Video for Cici Kytten

She's Fabulous, Fashionable, Provocative, funny, serious, insightful, Bold, devious, daring, educated, well written - BUT , have you ever seen her in person? Heard her voice? 

Now is your chance.

Experience Cici's Ted Talk Video!


Friday, August 14, 2015

The First 10 Yards - Starting your Transgender - Crossdressng Journey



(by Kathy Hamilton)


In the past, deciding to do the “first ten yards” could take me up to an hour.
And sometimes, I’d simply have to accept that I just could not do it. Sadly, I’d have to give up and either close my front door or simply start my car engine and head back from whence I came. Can you guess what I am talking about?
Well, if you reflect on your own crossdressing experiences, your own concerns, and your own innermost doubts, then I'm pretty sure you know what I mean!

Decisions, Decisions


In fact, almost every T girl has been through the same sort of dilemma of indecision sometime during her journey towards womanhood: Do I or don’t I? Shall I or shan’t I?
"Phew,” you think, gently dabbing your forehead with a paper tissue, as sweat trickles down your neck, your hands all clammy and stomach churning, “What shall I do?”
“Now or in a few minutes? In a few more minutes or maybe I’ll wait ten… or fifteen more. Is there anyone around? Can anyone see me? Oh, is that someone coming? Hm, I’d better not.” “Is my make up okay? Is my wig looking good? My dress nice and my outfit smart enough?”

Time to Own Up


Hands up if you have had similar thoughts while crossdressed in one of your smartest Suddenly Fem outfits. You surreptitiously peek out from behind the curtains of your living room, looking up and down your driveway, checking out both ways along your road.
 ... Read the Full article  at the Suddenly Fem - Crossdresser.com Learning Annex Click link