Coming Out

59163346_10104189836531190_1884608972057477120_n

I mentioned in my last post about coming out as transgender during my time here in Florida. It didn’t happen overnight and it required much introspection. This is my account that realization, how I got there, and current journey towards transition.

For a long as I can remember, there was always this feeling. Like, not fitting in at all in the world. If there’s a starting age can be attached, it would be perhaps 14-years-old.

543333_10151050245820796_256093006_nI always felt queer both in identity and being an awkward teenager. A typical nerd, my life is not much different in liking video games, shortwave radio, and even carrying around National Geographic magazines. I didn’t know many people that shared much similar interests aside from gaming.

Along with that, I never really fit inside the male norms. Sports were never my interests. My dad and brother would scream at the TV for their favorite teams, but I wasn’t ever too keen on it.

I was also a really sensitive kid. Unlike most boys, I would cry a lot and had such nicknames as “Crybaby Chris.” If ever in a rare fight, my tactic is flight as I didn’t want to hurt anyone and felt bad. I usually wasn’t much combative or aggressive.

I spent a lot of time with my stepmother and would watch TV with her, especially cartoons and PBS shows. I can’t say I had a terrible relationship with my father but it was strained at times.

I had very few friends throughout middle and high school but I felt it was an even mix of male and female friends. Dating was also very rare and only have one girlfriend who cheated on me.

My parents even questioned if I was gay.  My answer was a big “no” but their asking wasn’t without merit. After all, I did some things that gave them some knowledge that I was blind to seeing until much later.

Back in middle school, there was a Scholastic Book Club slips that usually arrive before Halloween. I was into classical literature and horror stories, but there was one book series that I wanted to have. It was the Babysitters’ Club.

There is no clue why my interest in the books came from but it was there. My stepmother was adamant about me buying the set but I bought it anyway and read thru the books.

The other example was crossdressing. For the longest time, I thought is was some fetish that came time and time again throughout grade school and even after college.

Wearing feminine clothing felt right to me. I couldn’t explain it to myself at the time but questioned myself even then if I was gay. Transgender wasn’t much knowledge to me.

As a teen, I did get caught and was put to a stop, but the feeling lingered for years. The feeling of seeing myself as a woman.

Fast forward to September 2018! Last year, these feelings came back stronger than ever. Stress was also getting the better of me from feeling drained from working multiple jobs and not feeling like not having a fulfilled life.47181259_10103905048234220_2320407234724495360_n

It was then I started to crossdress again and simply didn’t care about the internalized shame that festered in me for years. Like before, there was a sense of fulfillment and being comfortable in my skin.

I began shaving my entire body, aside from my head, soon after. A dream would eventually come that would help me realize a truth.

Long story short, I dreamt of being a woman. I even woke myself up and noticing myself say while sleeping, “I want to be a woman.”

My search began. I started to question myself “am I gay,” “is this a phase,” “is this what I really feeling or just a result of stress,” and finally “am I transgender.”

My personal research began with Google searches of definitions and Reddit posts on stories of similar tales. It wasn’t until seeing the trans-related subreddits that I would find myself in familiar territory.

Reading through many coming out stories, especially from transwomen, I felt this to be true about myself and saw my own story as valid.

By late November, an appointment was made to see a gender therapist and try to fit in my schedule seeing someone from OutMemphis, an LGBTQ+ organization in Cooper-Young. Both attempts failed when I received my job offer to Sarasota, FL and began moving.

Truth is I probably would have chickened out and not made much effort if I stayed in Memphis. In January, I was now in a new environment and truly felt alone for this first time in my life.

After a few days in Florida, I started searching for LGBTQ+ organizations and found one group called SarasotaOut and a transfeminine group that meets once a month. My meeting with Dr. Mary Davenport and talking with other transwomen helped made it clear that I was truly trans.

60348534_10104199857449190_2664022957914849280_nI told my story to the SarasotaOut members meeting at a coffee shop and they understood my story. It was a group where I felt truly welcomed and not ashamed to hide.

I had came out to some friends privately over time, but officially was out of the closet by April. Most of my family and friends have been incredibly supportive.

There have been a few people like my brother that have not been so kind. I still have a message from him that simply says “what is this shit on Facebook (the platform where I came out publicly)?”

I can write a series of stories of how badly he’s treated me but it was no surprise with his reaction. Somehow he made it about himself and complained to my grandparents.

After all, this person historically made fun of me by calling me “gay” so he thought that had an impact. He didn’t realize that it had nothing to do with him.

At this moment, I have moved to North Fort Myers, FL to work at another station. Since coming here in May, my transition is underway.64914724_10104283342704070_6327847365273190400_n

Currently, I have been on HRT for about 5 weeks and things are progressing well. Aside from dressing in public, my body is undergoing changes like breast growth, fat redistribution, and feeling more satisfied aside from career goals.

For a few months, I have been using makeup in addition to wearing dresses and other clothes more publicly. My skill is still being perfected but it has been much improve with each attempt.

I am out to my boss but I have yet to come out to anyone at work. While there, my attire is typically jeans and a shirt so I’m pretty androgynous.

Because of finally being out of the closet, I am looking at either returning to Memphis or possibly to a more LBGTQ+ friendly city like New York City sometime next year. Ideally, I’d like to find work with LBGTQ+ organizations (especially if it is media related) or other groups that have excellent Communications departments.

As time goes on, I feel realizing being trans has brought out latent creativity that I want to tap into that energy. No plans are set but a decision will be made on my one-year anniversary here in Florida.

For folks who want to know who I am now:

Chris (keeping my androgynous name), a transwoman who uses she/her pronouns and has a few years working in media. She still likes women and identifies as a trans-lesbian. Ultimately, Chris wants to fit into a creative role and hopes to do some positive work in the world. For the first time, she is much happier and living a more authentic life

64947420_10104286829711080_5624108736076316672_n

Advertisements

Transitioning In Florida

Last November, I wrote a post about pros and cons to moving to Florida. While it has been a long time since that time, this dream became a reality.

In December, I received a job offer as an editor for WWSB ABC 7 in Sarasota, and in about few weeks I relocated to the Suncoast.

My feelings initially were great, but options on the move became mixed. I knew life in Florida was more expensive than Memphis, however you don’t really know something until living here. Rent is the biggest issue and I’m paying twice as much that I did in my Midtown Memphis studio apartment. Other things like food and gas are different but not far off from the average prices in Tennessee.

One other thing that was a downer from the get-go was the job. It was worse off that I was in Memphis and was not happy. The low pay and stressful environment did not make this move as worthwhile as I thought. There was a silver lining to this journey (more on this later).

Plus, access to the beach had a nice bonus and very cathartic! It was until mid-April that I got a better offer at a Scripps station in Cape Coral/Fort Myers. The base pay wasn’t a lot but it was much more than what I was paid in Sarasota and even Memphis so I accepted the offer.

I made another move down to North Fort Myers and have now been the state for 6 months now. It has been a crazy ride full of ups and downs. There is one thing that has been in my thoughts since coming here.

I don’t like living in Florida and want to move back home.

It isn’t a horrible state and I don’t regret my decision. Homesickness can be partially to blame but it is a little more complicated.

Like I said before, it is simply expensive here and I have actually feel behind on some bills. Before the move, I was on top of everything but the additional costs have hurt me. It is slowly rebounding with the new job but now sure how long it will take to fix my problem.

Another reason has been loneliness. Admittedly, I am closer to most of my blood relatives and will see them regularly. However I miss the family that have been a huge part of my life in Memphis. The same people who have stuck up for me, put up with my issues, and have shown so much love. I’ve never seen them everyday but I miss their presence.

Those are just some reasons why I might move back to Memphis by May 2020 (which is when my lease is up). With that said, I am going to wait until late December or in January next year before I make up my mind.

This move has not been a total waste. I have met some new friends, especially while living in Sarasota. I will still want to be a part of their lives even if distance separates us.

A big development that has happened in Florida is coming out as transgender. I have had these feelings well before my move, but the journey to this new surrounding helped explore this part of my life.

In Sarasota, I would regularly meet up at LBGTQ+ and transfeminine groups. The people there were attentive, respectful, and have shown me that my feelings were valid.

I came out fully in April and have gotten so much support. Few people haven’t been keen on this, but that is their problem.

My next post will go more into becoming a transwoman, but I am proud to say that I am on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It has been a week into treatment but I am already loving the changes happening within me.

Meet My Assistant: Google Home Mini

Google Home MiniFor the last few months, I have been using a Google Home Mini for a number of tasks around the studio apartment. In short, it is a fantastic device but this post will explore why it is a treat to use.

Back in October, the Home Mini came free with a Best Buy purchase. To be honest, I was not sure where to use it. With a Bluetooth enabled clock radio and portable speaker, it was tough finding a spot.

At first, the Google device was placed in my kitchen. Typically when making meals, I like listening to podcasts, music, or radio stations. Once setting up the device and connecting it to Wi-Fi is complete,  you have access to apps and service directly integrated with Google.

Just by saying “Hey Google, play ‘Last Podcast on the Left!'” the smart speaker uses Google Assistant to search for the latest episodes. It is also pretty useful if you are cooking a meal that takes time to make. Instead of setting a manual wind-up timer or take out a phone, telling the assistant to “Set a timer to 20 minutes” (for example) works splendidly.

The Home Mini lived in the kitchen for a while until my clock radio crapped out and so I needed an alarm clock. Sure, I could have used my phone but the smart speaker is up to the task.

I told it to set an alarm at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday and works flawlessly. It remembers to wake my butt up every weekday morning. Since my apartment is small, it still gets used about a kitchen timer and home speaker (I just leave my door open).

As a radio lover, it is a gem! It is integrated with services like TuneIn Radio, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and iHeartRadio. For example, I can say “Hey Google, play WREC 600” before I go to sleep and I am hearing “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory” in seconds.

It is not perfect though as some stations and programs don’t get recognized. Like, NPR, is confusing for the Home Mini. I would tell it to play “NPR” and instead of finding the local station, WKNO, it plays MPB Think Radio in Mississippi or some other random station.

Thankfully, it works like a Chromecast and you can cast your audio apps to the Mini seamlessly. It works as an alternative. It is also a Bluetooth device so it can pair with a smartphone or tablet as well.

Speaking of Chromecast, the Google Home Mini can act as a remote. Think of it as an Xbox Kinect. You can tell it to play, pause, rewind, etc. It works with Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu so you can be specific and tell the device to play a movie, clip, or show which will try to find it.

There are just a lot of uses with the Google Home Mini. I am still trying to figure out all of the commands, tricks, and neat things it can do. If you’re familiar with Amazon’s Alexa, then it is basically the same type of tech.

If you looking to add on as a stocking stuffer, the Google Home Mini is on sale for less than $30 during the holidays and I recommend it, especially as a tech & radio nerd!

Pros & Cons From Moving From Memphis To Fort Myers

21430507_10103014346632370_7820538855549918567_n

Last weekend, I had a conversation with my grandfather. We spoke about stress and finally moving down to Florida.

For the last few months, I have been rigorously applying to many video production jobs in either local TV news, major TV networks, and games media. If there was an opening for a video editor or production assistant, then my resume and cover letter would be sent.

However, I found that many businesses do not hire non-local applicants. People would tell you to land a job first before relocating, but that is not a reality anymore. Especially in a competitive field like communications and journalism, there are plenty of hungry new hires in any city or state looking for a foot in the door.

In addition to difficulty landing a position before relocation, I have outgrown my stay in Memphis and have long expressed getting out of here. After all, I live in this metropolis throughout nearly my entire childhood, college years, and a good part of my professional career.

Visits to cities like New York and Boston have ignited a passion to experience a true big city and the closest thing to that in Tennessee is Nashville. I’ve been to the state capital and it seems nice (it’s also growing pretty rapidly compared to Memphis, Chattanooga, and Knoxville), but I don’t see myself growing there professionally as an editor.

Back in June and once again in October, I talked to my family about moving down to Florida. While this is a state where people tend to retire and wind down their lives, I feel it could be a good point to further my career. After all, three of the United States’ largest cities are found here.

21271078_10103011203141950_854533338204729472_n

By July 1st of next year, I am moving down to Fort Myers. It will open up a new chapter of my life and hope this gamble pays off. It is not as risky as just lifting up the anchor and ship out to a new city with no friends or family support. However, there is a level of anxiousness that I am looking at, unless I finally hear back from a potential employer out-of-state prior to relocation.

While speaking to my grandfather, he mentioned that it would be a great idea to make a list of pros and cons of moving down to Florida. I’ve been doing research and have some knowledge, especially since I typically visit the state at least once a year since 2015.

It’s definitely a sound plan and would go a long way of putting my thoughts down. This way, I can convince me if it is a good idea to leave or stay.

I’ll start with the Pros and finish with the Cons.

PROS

  • Lower crime and safer neighborhoods
  • More potential to land a job at major cities like Tampa, Orlando, and Miami once I’m living in the state.
  • Possible opportunities from big companies like EA, Disney, and conventions.
  • Close to go see a Dolphins game or Boston Red Sox during spring training.
  • Presenting a chance to broaden my resume with different markets
  • No worries about breaking the lease on current apartment
  • This is a good excuse to move out and find a better apartment
  • Plenty of attractions to visit in the state
  • I don’t have many things so I can just hop on a plane with a few bags and suitcase
  • Better weather, especially during the winter months
  • Be within close proximity to the beach
  • Finding an editor or any production job should not be hard once I relocated
  • No income tax like TN
  • Lower sales tax
  • Cost of living is fairly comparable to Memphis (only 16% higher according to PayScale)
  • Making new friends and being close to my family
  • Aside from rain and high heat, the weather would be acceptable to ride into work or town.
  • Interesting news stories pop up in this state.

CONS

  • Recounts (okay, I am joking with this one but seriously FL…get it together)
  • Hurricanes (Working for coverage or dealing with evacuation)
  • Tourists
  • Trump supporters and bigots
  • Really hot summers
  • Alligators and poisonous snakes, while not everywhere, are more common
  • Still deal with crazy drivers
  • Public transit is not the best except in the bigger cities, and not the best to travel on scooter/motorcycle
  • Purging or selling some possessions
  • Leaving my existing employment and trying to find new jobs when I arrive (unless one is lined up)
  • Wages for media professionals are not much higher in FL than TN, but some networks like Disney/ABC and EA are found here and could pay better than local stations.
  • Leaving most of my friends and family from stepmother’s side behind. So I won’t have any friends here.
  • Still probably need to work two jobs
  • Tolls
  • Either trading in my scooter to Honda or shipping it to FL
  • Transfer tags and license in addition to change of address
  • Finding a decent apartment but this can be considered a pro too since I want to move from the current studio
  • Housing is a little more expensive than Memphis, but not by lot.

There are probably more items that I can add to this list, but it seems like pros and cons are evenly split. I am still leaning more towards moving out as I have been in the Memphis area for far too long. It’s time for me to spread my wings and soar into new territory.

21192766_10103004564660520_7613117551368055410_n

My Youthful Obsession With The Weather Channel

weatherchannel-shakeup-hed-2015

I was a weird kid. Heck, I am an odd adult!

There are just some interests that most ordinary people would not have that are attractions to me. In case readers are not aware, I love video games and radio.

One interest that hasn’t really been discussed before is weather. Those of you reading this post that know me well or friends that stuck with me through childhood know that I had a huge appreciation for meteorology.

While I have always liked earth sciences (including geography, geology, etc.), studying weather and climate fascinated me. I was passionate about to the point I wanted to be a meteorologist.

kt-westudy_2__13418-1503517885There was even one Christmas that my family gave me two science kits that each included weather stations along with some literature. With those tools, I tried to make predictions and observations while logging the conditions.

It’s no wonder that some of my oldest friends and some family members saw me as a TV weatherman growing up. It was something I wanted to do and the thing that helped that childhood dream was watching The Weather Channel. God, I am such a nerd!

It was not often that my family subscribed to cable TV, but there were ways to circumvent that in those days. Those of you would remember ways of how parents stole cable from others.

The time we did have cable, I would try to watch The Weather Channel religiously. Some of my childhood heroes were the local guys, but also personalities like Jim Cantore, Al Roker, and Vivian Brown.150216-news-jim-cantore

I enjoyed watching packages between forecasts that talked about various aspects of weather and further expanded my knowledge. There was even a time I tricked my brother into watching The Weather Channel by saying that “Twister” was on.

My childhood dream of becoming a meteorologist went towards a different route, but it played a part in pursuing a career in broadcasting. My experience right now has afforded me an opportunity to hopefully work for TWC in some way.

I don’t know if I’ll ever want to go back to college to study weather, but I do want to rekindle that long lost interest that has not completely flickered away.

The Blog Returns

300px-fountain_pen_writing_28literacy29

About a year ago, I stopped blogging on this website and started to focus more on video content. Upon further reflection, it is clear that writing again will do some good.

Starting today, the blog has returned to Chris Freitas On Radio. Although it is not the feature front page, it does have its special tab so visitors will need to click on top to see the latest updates.

By blogging again, I hope to practice my writing skills and post more about subjects that I am passionate about. While gaming and radio will be mostly covered, weather is going to be another focus.

As a kid, I held a deep fascination with weather and earth sciences. My parents and relatives would send me science kits (which had weather stations) and children’s books gear toward weather.

I was also the weird kid that carried about maps from National Geographic magazines. Perhaps I should have chosen meteorology or geology as career paths instead of communications and journalism.

Ideally this weekend, I want to write about an experience that blends both broadcasting and weather together. My full actual post of 2018 is going to highlight my childhood obsession with The Weather Channel.

Chris Reviews The Eton Field BT

Earlier in 2017, Eton revised the lineup of radios that have been previously released three years prior. The most striking change was the Executive models of the Eton Satellit and Traveller III with its all silver color and improved hinged antennas.

There was another model with a refresh, which was the Eton Field. The 2014 version of the lunchbox-style radio had digital tuning with an analog tuning knob. Jay Allen wrote a review and liked its overall performance aside from soft-muting.

The latest version of the Eton Field, now with a BT suffix, looks the same and shares the “DNA” of all of Eton’s radio lineup. It has a more chiseled modern aesthetic with a orange text on black display.

Why “BT?”

The most notable change to the Field is in the lettering “BT.” The BT is short for Bluetooth. While it isn’t the only multiband radio with the feature, it is a first in this class of radio and for Eton.

The Bluetooth “band” allows the user to connect a wireless device’s audio output into the radio. A smartphone or computer with Bluetooth connectivity can sync with the Field BT and play audio from the device.

The pairing process is easy and quick, and range is good as well. Overall, the Field BT is a great boon for radio fans who love listening to podcasts, music, and streaming services alike TuneIn Radio, Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRadio.

Now on the rest of the radio…

Tuning

Most $100+ radios have a frequency input. The Field BT is unlike those receivers and used only analog tuning knobs. The tuning knobs are a silver painted plastic and the two of the them work in tandem to tune to your favorite stations.

While the knobs may be a turn off, the BT is digitally tuned. This method of tuning is susceptible to drifting off frequencies, yet the Field doesn’t suffer from this issue. You’ll stay to the signal that you’re tuned to no matter what.

Also, the back knob is tightly tuned while the front one is loose (but not to the point of falling off) for fine tuning.

On shortwave, the Q. Tune button allows users to shift to 1000 kHz points. Say I am on 4000 kHz and want to tune in WRMI. Then I would press the Q. Tune button 5 times (which it will display 10000 kHz) and fine tune down to 9955 kHz.

I honestly prefer a digital keypad over a tuning knob for ergonomics and easier tuning. Hopefully the next Field BT will incorporate a numeric keypad and forgo the tuning knob or at least put it on the left side (where nothing is placed).

Display

The Eton Field BT shares the same orange on black LCD display the other radios from the company share. It is a large display and easily legible.

You can read the frequency as well as signal strength, band selection, and RDS information while using FM.

The screen is also well-lit and you can even keep the backlight on with a flip of a switch on the right side of the radio.

Audio Quality

The great thing about these types of portables is the audio quality is fantastic. It can fill a room and allows for some pleasant airchair listening. The Eton Field BT doesn’t disappoint in this aspect.

Sound from this radio is hands down my favorite of any radio I have used. It isn’t bass heavy, but it is far from sounding tinny.

Noise is comfortably low on all bands and makes it a pleasure experience if you care about the content you’re listening to.

In the Bluetooth mode, the speaker is used very well and it is great for music and spoken word content.

Antennas

The Field BT sports a very long telescoping antenna for FM & Shortwave reception. Since the radio is quite large, it also has a lengthy ferrite antenna for AM and it is housed inside the plastic.

In additional to the internal antennas, the Eton Field gives the option to add external antennas. Should you need to improve reception, you can add a wired feeder and ground antenna for AM bands while FM and Shortwave have separate F-type (or basic coaxial) connections.

Admittedly, I do not have or use external antennas aside from some simple wired ones. I’ve found the internal antennas effective for pulling in signals, but I would imagine external setups will do better.

I live on a rental property so constructing antennas outside is impractical, but it is good to have the option if I choose.

Reception

The Eton Field BT is quite a performer on all bands. I am able to listen to numerous distant stations on this radio, and it is by far the best I’ve uses in terms of sensitivity.

First the not-so bad news. AM reception is good, but it degrades in the higher frequencies. Somewhere around the 1500 kHz range, weak signals are hard to listen (local stations are no issue, though).

One station I benchmark is WLAC 1510 from Nashville and usually can be heard well on many multiband radios. Even I can receive it, it is very weak on the Eton BT and it’s soft muting completely nulls the signal. It becomes dead air.

However, it performs well in the lower frequencies and stations like KMOX 1120 from St. Louis and WGN 720 in Chicago are easily received.

FM reception performance is much improved. Weaker stations roughly 80 miles away from the transmitter site can be received in near local quality.

The Field BT’s RDS display shines here with displaying station details if the signal is strong enough.

Finally, shortwave reception is top-notch even on-the-whip. I am able to pull some stations with booming results. There are even some stations that I haven’t been able to hear on other radios like the Tecsun PL-660 but I can catch on the Field BT. I am referring to RAE from Argentina.

The following videos will give you an idea of just what the Eton Field BT is capable of doing.

Radio New Zealand International

Radio Saudi

WRMI

WMAV 90.3 FM (85 miles from Memphis, TN)

WGN 720 AM (Chicago)

KMOX 1120 (St. Louis)

Overall Impressions

I am greatly pleased with the Eton Field BT and would recommended it to any shortwave listener who values content or a beginner getting started in the hobby. The lack of SSB, sync detection, and soft-muting may turn off DXers and die-hards, but I’d argue that the external antenna ports and excellent FM and shortwave reception are worth it.

Also, the Bluetooth connectivity is the icing on the top and helps extent the radio’s longevity should someone not be able fine anything on the bands.

It is definitely my favorite portable in this class.