Friday, July 21, 2017

Future Retro

Hi,

Back in '05
Calie, over at T-Central, has been running a retro week, and these have been posts pulled from some of the featured blogs. Anyhoo, Calie was kind enough to ask if I was okay with having a post from 2005 being featured.

Wow, 2005: how much has changed since then? That's before the whole smartphone/tablet arrival, while we still had a Labour government, and before Little Miss was born. Quite a different time!

From a personal/trans point of view, I thought I'd have a look at what I wrote and comment on my original thoughts. People change, after all.

The question will be in bold and my original answer will be in italics. If you fancy a go at answering the questions, I'll provide a summary at the end. If you do, I wouldn't mind a courtesy link back, but hey, if you don't want to, that's cool too.
_____________________________

How long have you been dressing up as a girl?

On and off - for quite a long time. My earliest recollection would be when I was at primary school. What's that? About 8 or 10 or so? I don't know why but I remember getting ready for bed and seeing a pair of mum's tights fresh out of the laundry. I can remember wondering what the felt like and reaching for them... Ahhh, so began a drift to the Dark Side. :-)

After that, wanting to dress up or being interested in girls' - and later womens' - clothes never went away. Sure, you can try and *ignore* your interest, but if you're honest, the want to dress up never goes away.

Not much has changed from this statement. Well, other than adding another 10 years to the clock. I would like to think I've got a slightly better idea of what works for me, and what doesn't. I certainly don't know it all, and through a series of mistakes and some wonderful finds, style-wise, I'm mostly happy with how I look when dressed.

Do you want to be a girl?

In my teenage years I was very, very confused and wondered just where this cross dressing would take me. Would I want to become a woman? After a lot of soul searching, I realised that I didn't. I'm quite happy being a bloke. The wages are better, you get to play with lots of toys and clothing/grooming is soooo much easier. :-)

Wow, that was flippant huh? :-) No, I like being a sort of sort of in-betweeny bloke, and I guess that's around mannerisms and wearing brighter clothes. I am oddly, slightly bolder in my choices, and I don't hide behind the corporate shirt and tie so much: earrings, groomed brows, bright/highly patterned tops, etc.

During the brief visit from the Black Dog, I did think long and hard about transitioning. I wondered if being Richard was the cause of my woes, and yet I thought "what if I'm wrong?". With that in mind, I parked those feelings and told myself that despite the upset and - frankly - the emotional pain, I would wait until I was free of the Dark Woods, and being able to think a little more easily. BTW, I should stress this is only about me, how people who do decide to transition: well, you'd have to ask them.

So, no, I don't think I do want to be a woman. On a good day, I'm okay with who I am, and much as I'd like a little more freedom around appearance (smooth legs, stronger will to shift some weight, etc), I am okay with being a part timer.

Why ‘Lynn’?

I just liked the name. It's as simple as that.

There's a bit more to it than that. :-) Back in the 90s when I first got online, a work mate and I would join a student chat room and mess around using various false names. His did make me laugh, and he got booted once for one a little too close to the bone. Anyhoo, I picked "Linn" as it felt a bit here-nor-there in terms of him or her, and I became comfortable with it. I put the 'Y' in later, but never adopted the E. 90s kids may wish to make their own drug references at this point :-)

Are you gay?

I always find this a bit of an odd question. Why would a guy, who likes to wear dresses and make-up be gay? Isn't the stereotype that gay men are attracted to macho types? If that were the case, I'd not be showing myself in my best light would I?

Am I skirting the question? No, and I will say this: to deny being gay so ardently (as some men - and trans folk - are prone to do) - to me at least, implies that there's something wrong with being gay. This is going to sound awfully PC, but quite frankly, I don't give a sh** if you're straight, bi or gay. Who am I to judge your life? Love is love.

I'll still stand by this. As I told both of our lovely children, it's okay to be gay. It's completely natural, and if you find that you fall in love with someone the same sex as you, all I ask is you make sure they feel the same way about you too.

Does anyone else know?

Yes. My wife, my Mum, two t-girls I've met online & IRL plus an old friend from University.

As I already mentioned, during my teenage years there was much confusion. I came out - so to speak - to my Mum when I was 18. It was horrible. I felt so very ashamed and guilty. The guilt was that I'd worn her and my sister's clothes on occasion without permission. That's kinda creepy, but what's a young trans person to do? We had a lot of tears although she thinks "I quit" when I had a chuck out at University.

After throwing what few clothes I had away, I met a very nice young lady at University - now the Ever Lovely Mrs J - who, obviously, I married. She knew that I had dressed up, but at the time I'd purged everything and was on the *ahem* straight and narrow. That phase lasted about two years. She would go out once a week to visit her folks. That would leave me with run of the house and access to a bag of clothes destined to go to charity.....

I managed to keep the lid on things until I started a new job in the late 90s. That job was awful and I'm afraid to say that I used my cross dressing as a stress valve. I started to collect my own clothes and went out to a support group. I came out to Mrs J. a week later. Initially, she took it well, but it remains an occasional shadow on our relationship.

Not much has changed from that opening. Mum doesn't suspect or mention it. Why would she, I said I'd "gone straight" in '92. As you can see, I'm very much managing to maintain a complete disinterest in being trans :-D

No one at work knows, although sometimes I wonder if a few close workmates should. I also know that the genie can't be put back in the bottle, so I don't say anything. I am always concerned that if where I lived knew, that my kids might suffer for it (bullying). It's a fine line between staying in the closet and living. So far, the balance is working for me.

Perhaps it's an obvious thing to say, but having friends at Chameleons who 'get me', is, well, incredible. I can turn up in Richard or Lynn mode, and it's fine; they really do accept me for who I am. Well, that or they are very good at bluffing. :-D

What do you get from the experience?

Sometimes joy, excitement, or even disappointment, but mainly: peace. I feel happy and relaxed when I get to dress up.

Release, contentment, etc. I no longer feel pent up, but I get to express all of who I am. I'm not passing, but I'm okay with that.

Do you get aroused by it?

I find this question very hard to answer. If I'm honest, I have to say that sometimes, yes I do find it a turn on. It's not the cross-dressing that makes me excited, and this'll sound nuts - it's the actually feeling pretty that makes me feel good. Does that make sense? In my youth, just thinking about stockings was enough to - as Peter Cook would say - "give me the 'orn". In later years I find this much less so, although dressing up - while not sexually exciting - is still fun.

Y'know I still find this a really difficult question to answer. I still get feelings of "this is not normal" or "why aren't I like regular blokes?". These thoughts are thankfully rare, and the mix of transgender and sexuality is complicated.

There are rare times when I see my made-up reflection, and I look at the hair, the slap, and the clothes; and I feel more than pretty. Looking good makes me feel good, and in those rare times, the feeling of looking good makes me feel foxy. Ironic as dressed as a woman means the Ever Lovely Mrs J is not going to be attracted to me. Never let it be said Life doesn't have a sense of humour! But, jokes aside, it's complicated and I may not be explaining this very well, so my apologies.

How do you find out how to dress, how to do your make up etc?

Studying other women; trial and error; watching YouTube, reading women's mags; researching make-up and clothes on the Internet.

Lots of practice, and returned items from mail order. Make-up has taken me a long time to understand. You really have to put the hours in. Yes, there are some shortcuts, namely YouTube or Pinterest, that can help you avoid some basic mistakes. For example, I now know I've hooded eyes, so I understand why the regular smokey eye routine doesn't work for me.

Clothing: well, I follow fashion blogs and keep my eye on what women my age wear at work, or on the school run.

Have you ever been out dressed?

Yes, on a few occasions, but they are few and far between. There's no score card for this and it's not a p***ing contest by any means.

I think Matalan should have a trans discount card, it seems to be a Mecca for t-girls throughout the UK. :-)

Other than twice a month to Chameleons, perhaps once or twice a year. Usually, that's a shopping trip somewhere far away from home. I've been lucky enough to have a night out back in the day. I loved the Leicester meal out, and some of the Invasions have been good too. But, they do make an impact on family life, so I'm careful to try and keep a balance.

Could you stop?

I doubt it. I've tried and for me at least, it just doesn't work. Why lie to yourself and upset others with your grumpy moods because you're in denial. In business jargon: JFDI - just f***ing do it.

Within the TG community, there is a feeling that cross-dressing is incurable. It *may* be possible for *you* to give up. If you wish to do so, good luck. It won't be easy, but it may be possible. Personally, for all the flack and the fall outs, I enjoy it too much. Selfish b*tch eh? :-)

No. I've tried and the feelings do not go away. I need to be all of me, and by that, I need to express all aspects of who I am. Some of that would be traditionally described as male, some female. I do swing between the genders, although the pendulum doesn't quite swing that hard into the male aspect.

What’s the cause?

The jury is still out. I don't think I've read or heard anything from the psychologists that ring true for all of us. Each of us has a reason that makes sense to them.

For me, I do not think it's genetic, but maybe hormone/birth related. Sure, you can have girly men and macho women, but I don't think being trans fits into that model so easily. I don't blame my parents; it's just a cast of the dice really. I wonder if the strong female role models at home and at school shaped my personality, or was I already leaning a certain way? But all that aside, why can't I stop? Are we truly slaves to our childhood or biological programming? People far more educated than I have researched and written papers on this subject. There's some here and here. If you've got any more, I'd love to read them.

I hope that by being a hands-on Dad, that I'll be a good role model for my son. You want to protect your children and while life isn't easy for straight folk, I'd like to help him avoid some of what I went through. But if he did find he was trans, at least his wife would get nice clothes for Xmas. :-)

There's been quite a lot of research done since 2005, and I think we're on the other side of The Transgender Tipping Point. Programmes like My Transexual Summer have given people the language they needed to express themselves. Sure, there's discrimination, but trans people are so much more out there.

To answer the question, I *think* we have a genetic disposition towards it. Now, that may either be a quirk of sperm meets egg, or variation of hormones in the womb. I'm not qualified to provide evidence, and clearly, I have my own biases. That said, I try not to worry how am I this way, and am trying instead to live, have fun, and help a few people along the way.

Thanks for reading,
Lynn
x

PS: here's the questions if you want to have a go yourself:

How long have you been dressing up as a girl?
Do you want to be a girl/woman?
Why the name?
Are you gay?
Does anyone else know?
What do you get from the experience?
Do you get aroused by it?
How do you find out how to dress, how to do your make up etc?
Have you ever been out dressed?
Could you stop?
What’s the cause?




12 comments:

  1. Very thought provoking!

    I don't have anywhere I can really post these, so I'll do some short and flippant answers here :)

    How long have you been dressing up as a girl?
    Since High School. I don't remember the first time, but my early attempts involved raiding the laundry hamper when everyone was out.

    Do you want to be a girl/woman?
    I know I'm not interested in transitioning, but I think I'd be just as happy if I'd been born female

    Why the name?
    After Kerrang's Pandora Peroxide.

    Are you gay?
    I prefer women, so I guess I'm bi. Or maybe pansexual, as I've been attracted to some people of indeterminate gender.

    Does anyone else know?
    Mum, brother, girlfriend (who knew before we started dating), and at least 75% of my friends. My neighbours might have worked it out too ;)

    What do you get from the experience?
    A much more interesting wardrobe, to feel sexy, and a "mask" to feel secure behind.

    Do you get aroused by it?
    Sometimes. A lot of clothing for women is pleasing to wear. And very rarely I look in the mirror and feel like a goddess. That's a *good* feeling.

    How do you find out how to dress, how to do your make up etc?
    Observing others, and practice... or trial and error. My girlfriend trained as a beauty therapist, so I listen to her too.

    Have you ever been out dressed?
    Lots of times now. I've been out clubbing, to the local Pride parade, and even down to London to see friends. Plus dressing up for conventions.

    Could you stop?
    I don't know. Why would I though? It'd be like giving up chocolate or computer games.

    What’s the cause?
    Probably rebelling against the patriarchy. But honestly, I've no idea. I've given it much thought over the years, but it doesn't seem to to a worthwhile line of enquiry, so I mostly just shrug and carry on

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    1. Thanks for sharing your answers, Pan. Wow, Ms Peroxide, there's a name from the past! :-) As to chocolate, a life without choccy does not bear thinking about.

      Comedy value aside: I wonder what the neighbors say, and I mean that from a positive view. I mean, if there's talk or sight of you, and that inspires someone else to be themselves, I think that can only be a good thing.

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  2. Its a pity that curiosity is often assumed to be something else by people on both sides of the trans community/debate

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    1. Could you expand on that please, anon? Just curious!

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    2. A lot of people have never meet a real trans person they are a bit of an rarity.

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    3. True. I suppose, and thinking off the cuff, chances for interaction are limited. I mean, looking at the trans folk I know, your options are:

      1) Transitioned/full time person at work. Given you be working with this person for a while, asking certain questions is a social no-no.

      2) Nights out: If you're not out on the town, you'll probably not see some of us. Not that all of us are disco dollies.

      3) Daytime: Possible chances here, although if you're at work, you're not out shopping when we are.

      So when does that leave us? Option 3 in the main, and if I'm at work, I'm not in town 99% of the time. Ignoring Chams, I think I've only seen one, maybe two, trans people in Nottingham when I've been out in bloke mode. Like you say, we're fairly rare. But, we don't bite*, so maybe picking the right time to ask is fine.... like this blog or others!

      ( * unless you ask nicely :-) )

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    4. It might be a problem, if you never meet a trans person your limited to what the media has to say on the subject, I am sure most trans people are some what different than the image reported by Express or the Mail

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    5. Ah, the Daily Heil. How could a purveyor of journalistic integrity, and emphatic journalism possibly be wrong? :-)

      So, yes, I'm with you on that it could well be a problem.

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  3. Very interesting :) . I guess that's one of the things about writing a blog, like writing a journal, you can look back and see how things have changed. I might have a go at those questions too.

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    1. Yeah, maybe a romp through the archives may be in order. It's not something I really do, so when Calie suggested the original post, I was rather surprised at what I'd written. They do things differently in the past. :-)

      I'll look forward to reading your answers.

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  4. Like Pandora, I've not got anywhere else I can really answer these, so I'll have a crack at them here. I'll try not to be too waffly. :)

    How long have you been dressing up as a girl?

    Hard to say for sure. Probably since my mid-to-late teens. I was just shy of 17 when I bought my first item of women's clothing (a pair of pink satin PJs), and I've generally only worn my own stuff.

    Do you want to be a girl/woman?

    Sometimes, but I'm not really sure if the grass really would be greener on the other side of the fence, so to speak. Of course, by saying this, I'm sure I'm opening myself up to attack from all manner of TERFy types who'd say I'm just a mentally ill pervert who doesn't want to give up his evil male privilege. :P Oh well, f**k those guys!

    Why the name?

    Mainly because I just like names that start with the letter Z, and don't think there's enough of them*! And why the "Heathen" part? So I'm not mistaken for the 5th Century pontiff, Pope Zosimus! Obviously!

    Are you gay?

    No, but I did experiment in my teenage years! ;)

    Does anyone else know?

    Probably a lot of people, and a lot more, I suspect, who wouldn't be the remotest bit surprised if they ever found out! :)

    What do you get from the experience?

    The freedom to wear all sorts of cool stuff I wouldn't have been able to if I'd stuck with what society deems "appropriate" for my sex, as well as the ability to express all of my personality. Oh, and it can be a bit of a turn on sometimes too - I won't lie about that!

    Do you get aroused by it?

    See above. Maybe not as intensely as I once did, though. For all I know, the initial thrill could've come from the fact it was simply so taboo; perhaps for that reason, I've long had a bit of a petticoating fetish (though in real life, I've never needed someone else to "force" me to dress). CDing also features prominently in many of my fantasies, which tend to be really, really weird. And that's probably all I should say about that! ;)

    How do you find out how to dress, how to do your make up etc?

    I'm largely self-taught. Lots of good old fashioned trial and error!

    Have you ever been out dressed?

    Yes.

    Could you stop?

    Probably not, and at any rate, I really don't want to. Sometimes, I think this question can end up being a bit of a Catch 22. If you answer, "No", then obviously you need to stop because your CDing is some sick compulsion or something. If you say, "Yes", though, you still can't win because whoever asked you the aforementioned question will probably then say, "So why don't you?"

    What’s the cause?

    I've sometimes jokingly credited/blamed Agent Orange, as my father was undoubtedly exposed to it while serving in Vietnam, and it's thought that its effects can be passed down to one's children. In all seriousness, though, who knows? One thing that sort of depresses me is the thought that, if the atheists are right, I'll probably never know, as there'll be no meeting with some omniscient being after death who'll answer that question for me (nor, indeed, any of the others that have vexed me over the years). :(

    *This extends to place names too. You wouldn't believe how devastated I was when the African country of Zaire changed its name to the boring old Democratic (ho ho) Republic of Congo in 1997. Boo!

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    1. Oh waffle away. It's not like we're on a budget or anything. Besides, makes a change from me prattling on... Like now :-)

      Thanks for sharing!

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