Lilly’s Story

Here is my story, Lilly’s tale, as told through the medium of my desert island disc selections. ‘DID’ can be heard on BBC Radio 4, nine o’clock each Friday morning, it’s a long running and always interesting show.

I rarely stray too far from the radio or my Spotify account. Music is the sound track of my life; here are eight records that express my feelings and my outlook on the world. I hope you this little bit of self indulgence. Mine is a happy, joyful story.

 

‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA – dedicated to Serena, my inspiration, my mentor, my confidant, my shopping partner in crime, my friend. Why this song? Well last year Serena, the beautiful Rachel (will you stop getting compliments please) and I went to see La Voix in Norwich. Oh what an evening, what fun; we were just three women having a wonderful time. The place was packed with a cross section of people. ‘Dancing Queen’ finished the show and everyone was up and dancing, all inhibition were well and truly gone. Serena lives in the real world and helps me do the same, she keeps me grounded. ‘Anybody could be that girl……. ‘ but this time it was we three.

‘Girls Just Want Have Fun’ by Cindy Lauper – dedicated to Dee and all the girls living full time. Dee and girls like Dee, Petra and Petra for example, walk the walk and talk the talk. Living full time is Dee’s dream and she has made that dream come true. Suffering the slings and arrows, she remains strong and determined to make her new life work. Every day during the lock down, Dee and I exchange a song for the day. This is one of her favourites; expressing how we feel and valuing what we what we are currently missing. We are certainly intend to have lots of fun when we all meet again. Oasis meetings will not be taken for granted, ever.

‘We are Family’ – Sister Sledge dedicated to Oasis. It’s two years since my first meeting, which is now such a treasured memory. I was made to feel so welcome, so special. Oasis has created a wonderful safe space where we can meet new friends and catch up with old ones. A place where we can experiment with our look, live out some of our dreams and discover we are no longer alone and oh, have a wonderful time. We are all custodians of Oasis, but I cannot give enough thanks to those who created, nurtured and developed Oasis. There are too many people to thank but nevertheless I insist on saying thank you to the brilliant Beccie, for that she has done and continues to do. Beccie always has a wonderful ability to make me smile. Thanks to all our partners, our friends, our Phyllis and Barry, our delicious Vicki, our Joanna, our Geri and Michelle (how much washing-up do you do? A thankless task). Thanks to Barbara Ross and the founding members, I’m sorry I don’t know you all but I’m thinking of Jenny, Rachel R, LTS, Carole, Alison… I’m thinking of the wonderful Lana, such an inspiration. ‘I’ve got all my Sisters with Me’, have I? Oh yes I have!

‘Rebel Girl’ – Bikini Kill dedicated to Angela, Anne (with an ‘e’) and all the girls out there, that don’t quite fit in. On our travels, I’ve been lucky to meet so many interesting and stimulating people, some Trans, some not. I guess we all know what is like to be an outsider; me, happily I did find a little home in the Punk scene. Though it may appear so, Punk wasn’t all about boys and there were also many amazing women too. Later, after Goths and Grunge, along came the Riot Girl movement and some brilliant girl bands. I choose this track simply because A & A will like it. Girls can’t play guitars. Oh I beg to differ!

‘Shame’ Evelyn Champagne King dedicated to all Trans Girls everywhere. Einstein said that he had stood on the shoulders of giants, one of whom was the brilliant female mathematician Emmy Nether, who helped him construct the mathematics required to express the 4D universe necessary for the theory of relativity. We Trans women are also using the shoulders of giants, those who have pushed back the boundaries that allow us the freedom to express ourselves in relative safely, here in the UK. Thank you to our predecessors, those brave Trans activists, those who have risked their health and their personal safety fighting for our rights. We in our turn, we must try to make this a better world for those who follow us. Small steps, little acts of kindness, and a generosity of spirit. ‘Shame’ is one of the greatest dance recolds ever, let’s dance around our handbags ladies.

‘This is Love’ – P.J. Harvey dedicated to all the women in the media who are helping us to get us through this current crisis. My favourite is Lauren Lavern, who presents on BBC Radio 6 and more recently Desert Island Discs. Lauren’s infectious enthusiasm for life shines through and always puts a smile on my face. I think of the wonderful pioneering DJ, Anne Nightingale. When Anne started in the 60’s, the male DJ’s made her life very difficult; she was subjected to a great deal of sexist abuse and belittling behaviour. Anne is strong, and she is still pushing back musical boundaries 50 years later. If you don’t know P.J. Harvey, she is a brilliant song writer, poet and musician. I love this song, I absolutely love Polly Harvey.

‘I’m every women’ by Chaka Khan, dedicated to the Feminist cause, dedicated to The UEA’s Feminist Book Club, dedicated to Women’s Hour, dedicated to all the female scientists, astromeners, mathematics, physicist, artists and authors written out of history. History is written by the winning side, it is certainly written by men! Take the case of Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Jocelyn discovered radio pulsars in 1967 but later when the Nobel Prize was awarded for this discovery, she was not included as a recipient, instead the prize was awarded to three men. The western world is slowly changing but if you have any doubts there is a long way to go, look up Laura Bates’ Every Day Sexism Project. The world needs to change for every woman, equal but different.

‘Like a Prayer’ by Madonna dedicated to all members of the LQBTQI+ community. We are a community, though some times not always in complete harmony. On my way to my first Norwich Pride, on the radio I heard a story of a gay man, and how Madonna and her songs, helped him through the sadness and isolation he felt growing up. Later as we paraded through the streets, I found myself walking with and talking to, a young gay man in a Madonna T-shirt. I wonder if he was the same boy?

I hope you have enjoyed my little selection. If you would like, please send me your choices. Stay safe, lots of love to you and your families.

‘Jeepster’ by T-Rex next to Mum’s Eighties style record player.

Side note:

I was amazed to find the first record I ever bought with my own money. No not ‘We’ll Meet Again’ but, from WH Smiths in Margate High Street, sometime in 1972.

Stay Safe

Lilly x 

May Oasis Blog

Being clinically vulnerable and therefore on lockdown I do miss many things.  Meeting friends, visiting restaurants and going to the theatre.  I’m even missing “the middle of Lidl”!

I’ve sorted my summer outfits recently, but not certain where and when I’m going to be able wear them, except around the garden.

Stody Rainbow Day 2019

I’m also missing getting ready for the picnic on the Rainbow Day at Stody Lodge Gardens and try to relive the marvellous time we had the previous year.

It was so nice to see a few Oasis members at the “Zooming Marvellous” event on Saturday 16th May, when we would normally meet.  I not certain how many bottles got consumed that night, but the wine certainly flowed.  Let’s hope a few more of our ladies connect the next time. Our June meeting was titled Tea Party, so perhaps we could all raise our tea cups and candy fancies at the next meeting.

I think Lilly was the catalyst with her two-part novelette “Escape from the Country” because other ladies in our group have started to send their stories for inclusion on the website.  It’s was lovely to read Denise’s story and Phyllis’s meeting of Denise and subsequent arrival to Oasis at our first 40’s event. Vicky came next, with an outpouring of her inner emotions and fears, but how nice she was about me-all true! Geri’s story, beautifully written about her gender journey I think is similar to many of our journeys. We are expecting Lilly’s and Hazel’s story next. Now I know there are a few more ladies that are considering writing their story, so I look forward to getting these out to you in June/July.  I might even consider writing my story!

Most people appear to be managing our new norm, but here a run down of who I have heard from recently.

Sheila in self isolation

Sheila has had over 80 days of lock down in a very isolated village inhabited by not very friendly people. Sainsburys deliveries have become a lifeline. She is awaiting the birth of her first grandchild due in a few days.

Joanna is still designing the garden and her train layout and almost every evening, as it’s much warmer, dresses in her summer outfits.

Theresa is still sitting in the garden with Alice the ‘van’, waiting for campsites to open again. She’s sad to hear Debenhams in King’s Lynn will not reopen because she’s discovered a taste for Mantaray clothing.

Jenny asked if anyone watched “Dazzling Duets” on BBC4.  She missed it at the time, but watched it on the iPlayer one morning, whilst still dressed in her feminine nightwear. It is brilliant, with something for everyone.

Wendy who we have seen twice at Oasis is well, dressing and sleeping, when she can in her female attire.

Michelle and her son are slowly using all the food in the freezer.  If it gets desperate she may have to eat her son!

Lucy is well and keeps in contact most weeks.

Vicky is preparing to return to work at the cafe.

Recently I was chatting to my good friend Anna G. We were discussing how we could all meet again at Oasis and socially distance. After discussing many different way, from reducing number to a maximum of 10, sitting at opposite end of the tables, or all sitting in a large circle, we hit on the perfect idea. French wheel or great farthingales became popular in England in the 16th century, panniers in the 18th century and crinoline in the 19th century.

I’m sure you’ve all got one from these ” little” dresses tucked away in the wardrobe. They are perfect for her first get together, great for social distancing. Just not certain how I get in the car or through the door of the hall!

Keep safe.

Beccie

 

Geri’s Story

I started cross dressing when I was very young. I can’t be certain when, but I was still at junior school, so, was probably about ten; around 1956.

My family shared a three-storey, Victorian, terraced house in North London with my maternal grandmother. The first items of clothing I tried on were stockings and suspenders. My Nan always called her suspenders her “stays” and my mother referred to hers as her “belt.”

In later life I attended some dog training classes and in answer to my question, the trainer said that if an animal stole food, they would always be a food thief as the rewards was too great. That was how I felt in female clothing- the reward was huge.

To this day, I can shut my eyes and be transported back to those times when I was ten and recall the sights, sounds and smells. The reward was so great that I can have instant recall to this day.

As time passed I continued to flirt with female clothing and wanted a female form. I never felt that I was trapped inside the wrong body, just that I would have preferred to be female. This seemed especially strong when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I was married at eighteen and divorced at thirty-six.

I continued to cross dress on and off throughout this married period of my life, mainly by wearing female underclothes. So, I would present as a professional person in a suit and tie, but only I knew what was underneath.

After I separated from my wife, whilst staying in the marital home with both children, the urge to dress completely as a female was very strong. I could not wait to get home from work on a Friday night, when the children would be absent visiting their mother over the weekend, in order that I could become female and under cover of darkness would often go out. I would drive to a secluded location taking my dog with me, and use her as a pretext for a walk. I suspect neighbours knew I was behaving oddly but they never challenged me over my behaviour.

When I was forty I met someone and got married again. During the years we were together I kept my feminine side largely suppressed, without a lot of pain.

Following the breakdown of that marriage I re-located to my current address and the old desire grew strong again. I was cross dressing in the seclusion of my home until a neighbour called unexpectedly one day. I put a bath robe on but in my haste, forgot about the earrings! From then on I was “out” and leading a largely female life.

I consulted with my GP on what was happening to me to try and understand why. He recommended some counselling which was not particularly helpful but that led me to Gender Agenda and Oasis.

I had a long telephone consultation with the former and became a fairly regular attendee at Oasis gatherings.

In 2017 I told both my children of my circumstance. My daughter, who I had not been close to for nearly thirty years was upset and has taken time to adapt. My son accepted things but made the request that when we met, I be in “Dad clothes.” I accepted that but soon learnt it was a mistake and advised him I could not continue on that basis. He has accepted that and I am very relieved.

In the meantime, I had seen my GP again, by which time I was living virtually full time as a female and he referred me to the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) at Charing Cross Hospital (CX), where I was accepted as a patient. However, the lead time for appointments was eighteen months plus.

Knowing that time was not on my side I looked on line at the consultants in the GIC. I selected one and following an internet search discovered she had a private practice. I made an appointment and have seen her three times. She diagnosed Gender Dysphoria and put me in touch with a voice coach and endocrinologist, as well as dispensing some sound advice and guidance.

The voice coach only required a single consultation but a lot of exercises and practice. I am now overdue a follow up appointment with the endocrinologist, due to Covid-19, but have been taking female hormones for about eight months.

My first ex has learned of my cross dressing in the last few years, our children advising her after I “came out” to them. However, I don’t think the second ex knows and she now lives on the Isle of Mann so is unlikely to find out. I am not bothered about who knows. I take the view that if I was concerned, I probably should not have done it in the first place.

I have been asked if have any regrets and the answer is “Yes, I do.”  But that is only because I have wasted years and should have publicly acknowledged my dysphoria years ago.

Geri Gibbs

Vicky’s Story

Covid-19 and me

Since the lockdown, which now seems such a long time ago, I have been on furlough as I work in a coffee shop. During this time, I have found it surprising easy to adopt new routines. It’s good for the soul to eat fresh baking bread (though sourcing ingredients are difficult). Cooking the family meals, different styles whether they like it or not, whiles away my time. Also my girls clothing has all been sorted, some destined for the charity shop or more likely the bin (knowing my style). My shoes all cleaned and sorted out in to different styles.

Oasis and me

I have been a member for 11 years and it has given me pleasure and pain. Happy times are sorting out my outfit for the evening and arranging the catering. Bad times are sometimes feeling totally out of place. I have always struggled with talking with people, I know, in large or small groups. So sometimes going to Oasis or related events can fill me with dread. However, I cope by finding things to do, cooking or outside for a cigarette. But, hey we all have a cross to bear! On the plus side I have meet some lovely people at Oasis, truly warm-hearted and gorgeous looking.

Dressing and me

I love dressing. It took me a long while to get a style and make up that I felt happy about. It’s probably a bit of the “drag” in me, that makes me want to stick out! Dressing for me is always a light at the end of the tunnel, when I am down and hating myself, dressing always makes me happy to be alive. Not really concerned with trying to pass only concerned with looking like a very stylish bloke in a dress! I feel, we as trans bods, bring a bit of colour to a somewhat dreary world!

Shoes and me

Why do I love my shoes so much? Why do I find a reason to buy yet another pair of black high heeled shiny shoes, that are so impractical to wander around in? Well because, of course, it makes me so happy.

Beccie and me

Been friends with her for 9 years, it took 2 years before she realised that I could cook. Oasis you are welcome! Do so admire her for her tireless efforts at Oasis and here God given ability to talk to anyone at great lengths. She has another great skill of totally believing in her ability to be mistaken for a real life woman any time she walks out her door dressed. I love her for that! I totally love Beccie’s wife, Annie for putting up with her, and still loving each other. Thank you both for being my friend x

The future and me

Looking so forward to doing some my favourite things …

Shopping, drinking coffee at Costa and wearing totally inappropriate clothes.

And of course going back to work … Sort off!

Be safe everybody

all my love. Vicky x