Archive for the ‘Ask Aunt Fran’ Category

Ask Aunt Fran: Healthcare

November 18, 2012

Well, it’s been a long time, kids, but welcome back to another installment of Ask Aunt Fran, where you, the curious reader, ask me, the curious woman with a little something extra, questions about this transgender-type trip I’ve been on nearly five years now.

If there’s something you’ve always wanted to ask about transfolks but were afraid to ask — well, don’t be afraid to ask! That’s what this here blog thang is here for! If you have my email or my Facebook page, just message me in private; otherwise, email me at Unless you want the notoriety, all questions will be anonymous. And — my version of the lawyer-weasel disclaimer: The answers I give are pertinent to my own situation. Every transperson’s trip is different; your mileage may vary.

Anyway, this comes up in the thick of Transgender Awareness week (Nov. 13-19), so the timing couldn’t have been better. I had dinner and coffee the other night with a friend I hadn’t seen in years. She knew about the transition, but it’s the first time she had seen Frannie 2.0 up close. And she had some questions.

And one resonates very loudly with me personally and the trans world in general:

“What do you do about healthcare?”

You mean besides grope and stumble and get lucky a lot?

Details coming up …


Ask Aunt Fran: The casual look

January 18, 2011

Hi. Welcome back to Ask Aunt Fran, where I take questions that friends and family and strangers ask me about my gender transition and answer them best I can in the hope of fostering some sort of understanding of something that’s still not readily understood.

Anyway, if you have a question, please pass it along, either to or my personal e address, if you know it. And remember: I’m no shrink or doctor. All answers are based on my personal experiences unless noted. And all transpeople’s experiences are different. Your mileage may vary …

This question comes from Drew Cucuzza, one of my dearest friends and a charter member of two of my fan clubs — both as entertainment editor/music writer at the New Haven Register through most of the ’90s and early 2000s and as a gender-traveler in recent years. Drew turned me on to all sorts of cheesy music back then, has forgotten more good music than most people have ever heard (I’ll always be grateful to him for letting me borrow his three Sonny Rollins box sets in ’99 so I could listen well before I interviewed the man, one of my favorite interviews) and taught me the true meaning of the word “interesting.”*

Anyway, very late at his latest edition of his annual Rockin’ Drew Year’s Eve party (it was quarter to three, no one in the place ‘cept him and me — though I did pass on the one more for the road), he asked me a multi-question question:

“So much of how your identifying with gender has to do with clothing, hair, makeup? How do you dress when you’re home and casual? And what do you wear when you’re not in public? How do you differentiate (genders)?”

Hmmmmm …

As Roseanne Roseannadanna once said, Y’know, Jane, you ask a lot of questions!


Ask Aunt Fran: What did you know and when did you know it?

December 8, 2010

OK, it’s time for another question from the mental mailbag of Ask Aunt Fran, where you ask me questions about this crazy gender-transition trip and I try to answer them as best I can, sometimes long-windedly.

Anyway, if you have a question, don’t be shy. You can email me at (or my personal email if you know it).

And remember: I’m not a doctor. Or even a shrink. I’m just a girl trying to make a go of it in this great big crazy world, and my answers are based on my own experiences.

Here’s a question I get from time to time:

“So when did you know?”

Did you mean when did I know that that the Saints would win the Super Bowl? Or that the business I was in my whole life, newspapers, was going to self-destruct? Or that there weren’t WMDs in Iraq?

Of course, I know what you meant — just because I changed the gender on my driver’s license doesn’t mean I threw away my license to be a smartass …


Ask Aunt Fran: The hair

November 23, 2010

Welcome to Ask Aunt Fran, where I manage somehow to explain the transgender trip to people who never would have guessed they would have to come up against it. But here I am and there you are …

Anyway, if you have a question you’ve been curious enough to ask, please send it to me at (or my personal address if you know it). Just remember that I’m no doctor or shrink, and my answers are based mostly on personal experience. And all questions will remain anonymous unless you want the notoriety …

This one warms my heart. You see, I took a huge step forward over the past week: I came out to my father’s side of the family — my aunts and female cousins in Pennsylvania and Georgia. And the response was wonderful. So that has reduced my anxiety level immensely — and I’m gonna need all the strength I have left to deal with the ongoing unemployment and the possible ending of my federal benefits by Congress very soon.

Anyway, one of my relatives had a practical, everyday question during my coming-out phone call to her, having seen my hairline come and go over the years:

“So what are you going to do about your hair?”

Regardless of gender, everybody asks themselves that question, don’t they? At least the ones who don’t go cleanhead


Ask Aunt Fran: Legally female

November 17, 2010

Hi. Welcome back to Ask Aunt Fran, where you come up with all sorts of questions about gender transition and I come up with an answer. Or two …

Anyway, if you have a question you’re curious enough to ask me — and I’m definitely curious enough, if you haven’t noticed — well, email me at (or my personal address if you know it). All answers will be anonymous, unless you prefer the notoriety.

And remember: I’m not a doctor or therapist; my answers are based on my personal experiences, and no two transgendered persons’ personal experiences are quite alike, just like you non-transfolk …

This week I had a veritable flood of old college friends come back into my life, which was a wonderful thing (and I’m still trying to figure out how they found me — the Witness Protection Program is totally useless). Anyway, one of my friends, who doesn’t live in this state, had a question for me:

“What was necessary for California to legally recognize you as a female?”

You mean, besides bribe money or clicking my heels three times or watching all of Schwarzenegger’s films in one sitting from start to finish without going to the bathroom?

Well, click the magic link and find out …


Ask Aunt Fran: That unsightly facial hair

November 9, 2010

OK, it’s time for another exciting episode of Ask Aunt Fran, where I answer any and all questions I receive about life in between genders, however big or small, exciting or mundane.

And it doesn’t matter whether your question is big or small or thrilling or average. (And there are no dumb questions. As Mr. Garrison of “South Park” — the animation world’s second-most famous transgendered character, after Bugs Bunny — once said, there are no stupid questions, just stupid people.) If you want to know something about the trans trip, kindly contact me at, or at my personal address if you know it.

All questions will be answered anonymously, unless you want the credit. And I really could use the questions — hint hint; don’t be shy … Just be advised that I’m not a doctor or a therapist, and my answers are based on my own experiences, which may differ from other transfolks.

Now that that’s out of the way, onto the question — sometimes a painful one to address:

“So do you shave or are you doing hair removal?”

Told you it was painful. Not agonizing, but painful …


Ask Aunt Fran: The plumbing

November 2, 2010

Well, the hits just keep on coming. Hence, the latest installment of Ask Aunt Fran, where I either demystify the transgender experience for you non-trans folks or just really confuse the hell out of you. (Hopefully the former.)

Anyway, if you have a question about this whole gender trip thang, email me at (or my personal email if you know it). All questions will be answered anonymously unless you want the exposure. And remember: I might be a firsthand expert, but I’m no shrink or doctor — all my answers are based on my personal experiences.

So here’s one I get a lot, especially when people first meet me and want to hear my life story (and here’s my gratuitous Monty Python line for the week: “Half a denari for me life story?”):

“So … are you planning on having the surgery?”

The surgery. Which only really means one thing, of course: altering the plumbing of my nether region to match the wiring in my brain. Or, to cut to the chase, so to speak: Am I gonna get it cut off?

An uncomfortable question in more ways than one, to be sure — downright painful — but one I can answer.


Ask Aunt Fran: The attraction to girls

October 26, 2010

One of my friends recently asked a question that stemmed from my Ask Aunt Fran post about sexuality.

(And this is a good place to drop in that this column is where I answer questions people have had about my gender transition thang. If you have a question, email me at (or my personal address if you know it). All questions, such as this one, will be answered anonymously, unless you want the exposure. And keep in mind that I’m not a shrink or a doctor; my answers are based on my own experiences with gender matters.)

I mentioned that my attraction is to girls, either genetic or transgender. My friend had an uncomfortable question for me, but one I readily answered, since it’s something I’ve pondered several times myself:

“You had mentioned that your girlfriends didn’t feel threatened about you hitting on their husbands, or that your male friends were threatened either … but have you ever had girlfriends who wondered if you were hitting on them?

“I have a girlfriend who I have been friends with for almost half of my life. We were buds for about 2 years before she came out to me that she was a lesbian. I wasn’t completely shocked, but it did make me wonder about a few instances — like, ‘She has seen me naked!’ — and I wonder if those nights we crashed in the same bed if it had a different meaning for her? It took me an entire 2 seconds to get over this, but one of the first things she said to me was, ‘Don’t worry … I don’t like you that way.’ Even though it was funny, it got me thinking about the relationship that women have with other women. (I’m speaking of straight women because I am one and can’t speak for or about anyone else.)

“The relationships that women have with other women are a very special, sacred thing. Women have an emotional connection with each other that can run very deep (deeper than they do with their spouse sometimes).  I have older women in my life that I can look up to for wisdom and comfort. I have younger women in my life who look up to me for guidance and support. Women are always there for other women in a way men can’t be. I guess it’s very similar to male bonding, although the dynamics are a little different because we are different creatures.”

Turn the record over and find out …


Ask Aunt Fran: The voice

October 19, 2010

Welcome back to Ask Aunt Fran, the column that asks: What the hell are you and why are you doing this?

Well, I’m trying to explain to friends, family and strangers alike just what the hell my gender dysphoria is all about — and maybe clear up any misconceptions or ignorance about the subject.

I’m not a doctor or a mental healthcare pro, but I do have years of experience dealing with the transgender thing firsthand, so I must know at least some of what I’m talking about.

Anyway, if you have a question, please email it to (or if you know my personal email, that works fine, too). Remember that all questions will be answered anonymously unless you want the credit/attention.

So, this week’s question:

“Are the hormones gonna change your voice?”

As DJ Kool once said, let me clear my throat


Ask Aunt Fran: The bathroom thang

October 12, 2010

Welcome back to Ask Aunt Fran — the “ask a transwoman” column that asks the musical question: How much information is too much information?

Before I get to this week’s question, the disclaimer-and-other-important-info stuff:

I’m not a doctor or a therapist, nor am I a professional expert on gender matters. My expertise is firsthand, mostly based on my own experiences with gender transition. And every transperson’s experiences are different and unique, however similar, so take me with as much salt as you’d like (though I prefer a low-sodium diet myself).

This feature is based on questions I’ve been asked throughout this crazy gender ride. If you have any questions, email them to me at (or if you know my personal email, that’s fine, too). All questions will be anonymous, unless you prefer the credit/attention.

So the next question, one I’ve been asked by several people:

“So, which bathroom do you use?”

As I said, how much information is too much information?