I am hoping that I will be able to keep you up to date with all the latest transgender news. There is so much going on out there just now, most of it good thankfully. I have a fair bit of information from different sources, but if you think I have missed something that needs mentioning, do please let me know.
However, having myself transitioned a few years ago now, I am fairly up to speed with male to female transgender issues, but would welcome news and views from the female to male side of things.
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Welcome to my first blog on this site.
A lot of girls make it a bit of a holiday and are around all week. I arrived on the Thursday, and there were already a lot of girls there. Unfortunately the weather was not too kind to us this year, but it didn’t dampen our spirits, and Canal Street and the girls looked very colourful, and some of the outfits were very diverse, from the girl next door, too glamorous, and some just totally amazing. High heels, some extraordinarily high, were exchanged for flats during the day to save the feet for the heels again during the evening. The rains came again on Saturday and it didn’t stop for long in between showers, and the grass in the park became quite muddy with a lot of heels sinking into the grass. It did nothing to stop everyone from enjoying themselves from under their umbrellas; after all, some girls can only get out a few times a year so nothing was going to stop a good time.
I enjoyed the variety of bars, night clubs and restaurants in the area, and a lot of girls venture further afield into the main shopping areas during the day. One thing I have noticed at all events is that I have never seen any trouble, or seen anyone out of control with drink, high spirited yes, but not out of control. We are all vulnerable without alcohol, so we are more so in the early hour’s returning to our accommodation when there are not many people around. Another thing I have noticed is that we all look out for each other, whether we know each other or not, and help is never far away.
I made some new Facebook friends whilst I was there and managed to do some interviews, which I will post in the near future. I just have to work out how to make up a template for the questions so that I don’t have to type them in every time! All in all, a great weekend, and next weekend is the Brighton Trans Pride weekend, an event I have not been to before as shift work always got in the way, but not anymore as I am now retired.
There are quite a lot of things I shall be discussing over the next few weeks and months, so if you have any stories, or letters, or anything you want to discuss, let me know.
I am starting this blog with the sad news that Stephanie Booth was killed in an accident last Sunday. She founded the Transformation empire which is where so many of us started our journeys back in the late 60’s and 70’s. Looking at all the comments on social media, there is a feeling of sadness as there was nowhere else for any of us to go at the time apart from dressing at home. However, the general feeling is that as she had the market cornered, she charged top prices for items in the shop. I remember as a paper boy seeing the adverts in the News of the World and the back page of the Exchange and Mart, but it was to be many years later before I ventured into the shop at Euston. For the first time ever I could experience a full makeover, something I couldn’t do at home as makeup takes a while to remove if someone came home unexpectedly! I would be interested in hearing your experiences with transformation, do let me know.
I attended the GIRES AGM recently, for the 4th year running, and after all the usual formalities had been completed, we had the most amazing talk from a GP in Wales who for a number of years specialised in sexual health matters. She explained that in her part of Wales, if you were gay and out in town on a Friday or Saturday night then you were fair game for a good beating from the male drinking classes. Transgenders would fare even worse so did not venture out at all.
One day she had a 12 year old boy come to her surgery asking for help and wanting to go on hormones. She knew nothing about transgenders at all, but made it her job to find out and put up a site on her computer, and was overwhelmed with the response. NHS Wales is not the same as NHS England and one of the things she realised was that young transgenders are not catered for in England at a very early age. Puberty blockers are not prescribed before the age of 16 which is far too late for most. I myself was shaving by the age of 16! She decided that without exception all young people know they have been born into the wrong body at a very young age, and don’t need to wait years to be told by a clinic that they are gender dysphoric. So she prescribed hormone blockers and hormones at an earlier age, with of course parental consent. Her enthusiasm and energy that she puts into helping young transgenders is quite incredible, and was one of the best talks I have ever had the privilege to listen to.
One interesting fact to emerge was that waiting lists to be seen by a gender clinic is 10 months for younger transgenders and up to 4 years for older transgenders. The number of younger people coming out is doubling year on year, so small wonder the gender clinics can’t cope.
Why do men cross dress?
It is estimated that at least one in forty men cross dress on a regular basis. This figure is likely to be quite a bit higher as most crossdressers are highly secretive about it as they have a great fear of being found out. For approximately every 1,000 who cross dress regularly, only 2 will go the whole way and have gender reassignment surgery and go on to live full time as a female.
Some men are quite happy to spend time cross dressed at home for a few hours as time permits, while others like to venture out into the public. Some will go full time without having surgery or going on hormones. When dressed as a female, most find it a release from being male, and for a few hours their new but temporary persona allows them to forget about all the stresses of their everyday lives. Although some will disagree, this is actually a lot less harmful than drinking or taking drugs to forget about their work and financial state of affairs. Most cross dressers enjoy being in their male persona for the majority of the time, but every now and then they feel an overwhelming urge to be a girl for a while. The urge to dress female comes and goes, but never goes away. When entering a new relationship the excitement takes away the urge to dress again and mistakenly think it is all a thing of the past. However, it will return eventually and this is when it becomes an embarrassing secret. Crossdressers are very secretive, and will go to extreme lengths to hide it from their wives and partners, and have a great fear of being outed at their workplace.
So, what makes so many men want to do this? For all cross dressers and transgenders, and I include female to male here, it all goes back to when we are in our mothers wombs, and at approximately 7 weeks into the mothers pregnancy the X&Y chromosomes determine whether we are going to be male or female. Unfortunately for a lot of us, some end up with more female chromosomes than the average male. What a lot of people find difficult to understand is that it is not a choice, it is in our makeup and no matter how many times we go into denial, it always comes back.
Interestingly, it is estimated that around 10% of the world’s population is left handed. Amongst the transgender community this figure rises to between 40 and 60%! The variance between male to female, and female to male is approximately 55% male to female and 45% female to male.
I myself worked on a site with nearly 2,000 people, the majority of them being male. When I was outed initially as a crossdresser, I thought that there would be quite a few others like me, and that perhaps one or two might want to come and talk to me, but such is their fear of being discovered, that in fact no one came forward. Even after I returned to work full time as Helen, still no one came to talk to me about it. I had my suspicions about one or two but it is not something you can ask them. Imagine the embarrassment if you had got it wrong!
Cross dressers go to extreme lengths to keep their secret and are very imaginative when it comes to hiding their clothes. Hiding places include the attic, the shed and garage, even behind the bath panel. Some can’t keep anything at home for fear of being discovered, so they resort to going to a dressing service where they can dress and have their makeup applied and become a girl for a few hours before changing to go home. In most cases the excuse for going out for a few hours is they are having an evening out with the boys playing darts, or going fishing. Make up was a no no for me when dressing at home as it takes a while to remove, where changing can be done quite quickly if someone comes home unexpectedly.
I regularly go to the East end of London to meet up with girls who have been to a dressing service, but want to go out to a bar or a restaurant. One evening there were 4 of us just coming into Brick Lane and we passed a group of bin men waiting for their lorry to come. As we passed them they laughed at us, and I always tell the girls not to look back or respond in any way, as they will soon find something else to focus on as soon as we are out of sight. However, on this occasion I told the girls to wait, and I turned to face the guys. I waved to them and gave them a nice smile and said “alright boys”. Well, they had to talk to me, and were soon asking questions about us and were quite interested. One of them shook my hand and said “my name is Dennis”. “I know” I said, I have seen your name on the front of your lorry”! Laughs all round and the next time we saw them they said, “Alright girls, where are you off to tonight then” It is just a question of breaking the ice, and most people are absolutely fine with it.
I have many other amusing stories to tell, but out of respect to my friends, I have to protect them, as very few wives or partners are very understanding if their secret is discovered. I don’t condone keeping it a secret, but as I have previously said, we all believe, many times that it won’t come back, but it always does, despite going through the denial process many times. Sadly, many will lose their friends and families as a result of being discovered.