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.
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.
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
Phyllis and Oasis
Following on from Denise’s story, Phyllis a great supporter of Oasis wanted to tell us her story.
I remember the first time we were introduced to Denise.
John phoned us to say he needed to have a chat . We were a bit worried as he sounded upset. When he came in he showed us a photo. We knew he never had a sister so we were puzzled. He then told us It was a photo of him as Denise.
He was worried that it may have made a difference to our friendship. Barry (Phyllis’s husband) had known him for a number of years. Barry being a police officer and John being in security.
I have to admit it was a bit of a shock. We had a long chat and we told him he was still the same to us whether he was Denise or John.
Then we became involved with Oasis.
The club were having a 40’s evening and John asked if we would help. We didn’t hesitate before saying yes. Just before the 40’s evening he asked if Denise could visit us. I am ashamed to say we were very nervous about the first meeting and regrettably said we weren’t ready to meet her.
On the night we went round to John’s house to prepare to leave. We sat outside and I was so nervous about going in. When we entered the house Denise stood there in all her glory and she looked really good.
We made our way over to Oasis. We have never looked back. We really enjoyed the evening and have been attending ever since. They are all a great crowd of people and we always enjoy their company.
Roll on when we can all get back together again. It will be a night of celebration.
Phyllis and Barry
Who am I, the person within?
I was born and no one noticed the person within.
My will was not strong enough to break out I was a passenger with no name, the person within.
Time passed and I still looked out at this outer persons world and the games he played with his friends. I wanted to play Cindy dolls with his friends sisters. But they didn’t see me the person within.
The world turned and time moved on. I wanted pretty clothes and my will got a little stronger! I could push my way out temporarily from this Male cocoon and wear female relatives clothes forcing confusion on the outer shell, who didn’t understand the situation anymore than I did because I was still the person within.
I had no name the person within. But through my windows to the world I saw a little girl who lived a few doors up. A sister of the outer shells friend. Her name was Denise! And I thought it such a pretty name that I would become Denise within.
Confusion reigned as my will got stronger little by little and I could exist for short periods of time outside of the Male. But my world remained hidden to the outside world. Still Denise within.
As we grew older I found I could exert my will and command the outer person to buy me clothes but confusion continued and I still remained Denise within.
Societies expectations, girlfriends, wives and children would diminish my will. I would watch helplessly as my cocoon destroyed my things! I was imprisoned forever. Denise within.
Trapped inside I thought I must be the only person in the world who is trapped within, surely now there would be no escape for Denise within.
As time went on three things would change my inner world for ever! The internet, Barbara Ross OBE and Oasis.
I was no longer the only person within! I could emerge and talk with other people like me and have real friends for the first time.
Confusion would still abound, but for the first time I could find a happy life balance with the outer person. He and I could exist together. Like sharing a car and taking turns to do the driving!
A fellow emerging person once told me I was her inspiration! I’m really not sure how? But if these words help inspire others then I’m glad that I am Denise that’s out and the journey has been a struggle but it was worth every step!