Archive for February, 2011

The Notes from the Underground Free Release of all Issues

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The Notes From The Underground newsletter was published starting in 1988 and was the first transgender magazine distributed in Ottawa.

It is available exclusively from the Gender Freedom website only.

This is a piece of Ottawa History you will not want to miss, and serves as a public record of the group and its activities.

The magazine contains articles, hints and stories about growing up in Ottawa transgendered.

During the last 15 days the membership voted to release all the issues of The Notes from the underground Free of Charge, at the rate of two or so a month, there are some 400+ issues so this may take some time.

However we that challenge the gender social norms are not opposed to releasing issues when we want to.

Here are Volume 1 issues Three, Four and Five, we trust you will enjoy.

Youre Webmistress Judy

The Notes from The UnderGround News Letter Vol.1 No.3

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011


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Ottawa, Canada       Summer       1989      Vol.1      No.3
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Summertime, Anniversaries and Other Sundry Matters

Summertime! Despite all the pleasure of BBQ’s, outdoor cafs and crisp, white skirts, there is hardship also. After all, long days of bright sunshine, often reveal clearly that either that woman is wearing too much makeup or that woman is no woman at all. Oh well, as my mother would say, “We all have our crosses to bear.”

And under the circumstances, I think we are bearing our crosses quite well, thank you. On May 6th we celebrated one year of existence. There was a noticeably festive air to the proceedings and this was made tangible the moment one peeked in the refrigerator. Besides an unusually large supply of beer, there was champagne and the makings of what turned out to be a delicious buffet dinner.

We even had door prizes (although these were not to be found in the fridge). I would like to say that everyone was wearing their best, but that would simply be stating the obvious since we’re always wearing our best.

The success of our anniversary celebration was all the more gratifying coming as it did on the heels of a setback. We had planned on going to a restaurant for the occasion but could not muster up the 20 or so people necessary for this to become a reality. This was mildly discouraging but I don’t think anyone doubts it will happen in time. Still, an average cross dresser goes through so many years of bitter frustration, can he be blamed if he wants it all now?

At the first meeting of our second year, we finally got around to some business by setting dues at 5$ per meeting – an entertainment tax if you will; although true to our fashion we agreed that if this fee was prohibitive for some we would make some sort of alternate arrangements. We’re a bit soft on rules. In any case, you’re perhaps waiting for our justification for taking your money (deficit! deficit! deficit!) so here goes: mailing costs, P.O. Box rentals, advertising and occasional buffets. Lucky for you we’ve found a corporate sponsor for our newsletter.

On the subject of advertising, our classified ad in the Ottawa Citizen got only a moderate response, although I think in the end it will have served its purpose. I suspect more people noticed it than answered it, and we have still a number of trails to follow because of it.

There was one other item of business at our first meeting of year two, and that concerned a recurring disagreement over the name of our organization. There are some (myself included, I must admit) who don’t particularly like the name, and feel it doesn’t reflect who we are. The trouble is we are all wary of the usual labels and the stereotypes they suggest, and thus cannot agree on a new name Consequently, changing our name now appears, in degree of difficulty, to be comparable to amending the country’s constitution.

So, New Ottawa Women we are.

 

A Life Part 1

This is the city; there are 8 thousand stories in the city; this is one of them ….
I came into this world like anyone, a gleam in my father’s eye, a sigh in my mother’s throat, and a doctor who wanted to play golf.
I spent a childhood that was fairly typical, in some ways not so typical for the l950’s. I hated sports, rowdy activities and itchy socks. I loved to read from an early age; I liked to swim and ride my bike By the time I was about l0, I noticed that women wore much nicer clothes than men. I especially liked the satiny fabrics that for some reason men weren’t allowed to wear. I liked the look of skirts as well, but it didn’t connect to my self until ….few years later.
“How do you like my new dress?” said my mom. I was-lying on the couch spacing on the tube, I saw the dress and I knew I liked it very much Since then I have gone through the typical angst and the “why me’s” of this kind of life: guilt tripping, throwing away clothes, generally feeling like a stranger in a strange land a fish out of water.

Until I was about 26 or so. At that time, I got entirely fed up with it, and decided if I can’t beat it, then I’ll live with it. I told a friend about it in his cab at about 5 in the morning, screwing up my courage, and his response was “oh, a transvestite, a guy who likes to wear women’s clothes?” He was so casual about it , all I could say was, “ya, right.” Shortly after that I came out with it to everybody at a party.
To make a long story short, I didn’t get punched in the nose; in fact, I was accepted…well, tolerated anyway.

Jim

P.S. If this passes Ted’s critical eye, I just might be persuaded to continue the story.

(I cant wait! Ted)

 

X Dressing

 

I can’t understand what all the fuss is about cross dressing. crossdress have appeared naked in most instances throughout history. So whats wrong with dressing them up a little? sometimes I’m asked over the phone if I’m dressed up. Usually I’ll say “No, I’m just wearing a skirt and blouse”. If I was dressed up, I’d be wearing an elegant evening gown-or a nice blouse, jacket and skirt. It also seems strange to me when I tell someone I’m going out somewhere and they ask me if I’m going dressed. Be-ing kind of shy, I most always wear clothes if I go out.

Do I like TV’s? Well, I prefer colored ones to black and white, but quite often the color of a TV doesn’t matter that much. One has to make do with what one has. I just have a little portable one myself.

Some people ask me if I’m a transvestite, and I can honestly say I only feel like one when I’m forced to wear suit and tie, or anything male for that matter.

A common question I’m often asked is “How well do you pass?”. I’d say pass quite well on the male clothes that society expects me to wear, and often I’ll pass after having been dealt a particularly bad hand during 1 game of euchre. If I’m at the dinner table, I’ll usually pass anything I’m politely asked. I was never very good at passing a football because my high heels usually sank into the field and I just found it too difficult to run in a skirt.

A concern many of us have is being read. I’ll admit I do get red sometimes from either wearing too much blush, or from having spent too much time in the sun. However, if Im careful and take the proper precautions, I dont get red too often. It sure is a confusing world and I’m still trying to make sense of it all, but I just can’t understand what all the fuss is about.

Sharon

(Some people do get cross about our dressing, don’t they? Ted)

 

Considering Our Options

 

All too often the desire among our kind is that we wish we could be allowed to freely be ourselves sand acquire acceptance among the general population. A frequent lament and a very valid desire I’m sure we have all heard many times. As for myself, I couldn’t agree more strongly with the statement. Having agreed, we now face two choices. One is that we continue to express our opinions and our selves in the relative safety of our homes, and the other is that we attempt to inform others outside of our culture.

I must admit that I am not the most courageous person in the world so don’t think I’m just out to criticize others, since all of the criticism must also be directed toe wards myself. But is not the only way that we can hope to gain our rights, that we venture out into the real world and make our presence gradually more visible?

I can remember as a child living in a small town years ago when one day the first black family moved in. Of course this was after all the segregation of blacks and whites in the U.S. had ended and had been mostly resolved, but still there was some hostility generated towards this one family.

But as people met the family, and children got to know this unique new kid on the block, we all soon learned that aside from their different color, they were in fact just as kind, friendly and nice as those who had white skin under their clothes.

Had the women of days gone by only talked of emancipation among themselves and never made a stand publicly, they too would still perhaps be the property of men, and the slaves of the household.

I relish the day when I’ll get on the bus and while reading the various ads and public announcements, I’ll come across a poster discussing cross dressing. Maybe one day I see a stack of brochures in my doctor’s office which state that yes, it’s all right for one to be such as myself. I’m sure we’re several years, if ever, from public awareness to even this degree.

Well, I’m not suggesting we, march on Parliament hill, go on strike for freedom of dress or burn our male underwear (I’d sure like to burn my male suits), but maybe we should consider our options. Those who desire to express their feminine selves publicly may find some comfort by realizing that many have trodden these same steps; but comfort can be felt also when one considers that their little venture is one small step for all the others like us in the world. Just some food for thought. And remember, if you do go out realize that you are representing all of us, so be tasteful, pleasant and act like you belong there. Familiarity may breed contempt, but familiarity most often leads to understanding.

Sharon

THE MAN IN THE GLASS

When you get what you want in your struggle for self, and the world makes you king for a day, Just go to a mirror and look at your self, and see what That Man has to say.

For it isn’t your father or mother or wife whose judgement upon you must pass. The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people may think you a straight-shooting chum, and call you a wonderful guy, but the man in the glass says you’re only a bum, if you can’t look him straight in the eye.

He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest, for he’s with you clear to the end. And you have passed your most difficult, dangerous test, if the man in the glass is your friend. You can fool the whole world down the path way of life, and get pats on your back as you pass, but your final reward will be heart aches and tears, if you cheat the MAN IN THE GLASS.

Author unknown

 

This Is A Test 

I have purposely tucked this notice in an out of the way corner of the newsletter to determine just how many people read Notes from the Underground from cover to cover. If all our correspondents  continue to write us using our old postal code of KIK 8E4, then I’ll know I, and you, have failed.

Our postal code is and always has been although the clerk at the Post Office didn’t know it when he rented me our box – our code, I say, is KIL SE4, Please dont let me down.

The Notes from The UnderGround News Letter Vol.1 No.4

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

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Ottawa, Canada  Supplementary Summer Issue 1989  Vol.1   No.4
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Memoirs of a Social Misfit, Part Two

The last time I wrote I left it off where I revealed myself (so to speak) to my peers. After that I was – pretty much dressed all the time, that is if I was visiting my friends or they were visiting me. They got used to it. A short time later, a  lady friend who was in the habit of reading the personal column in the paper called me and said there was an ad from a TV wanting to meet other TVs.

I couldn’t believe it!. My heart was jumping’, my nerve ends were twitching’, my eyes lost their focus – in short, I was beside myself.

Once I calmed down, I thought, “Wait a minute, what is this guy going to be like?

Is he some deranged person? A gay? Joe Normal? Or is he like me? Then I asked, “How should I behave?” God, the debate was endless, so I just decided to find out, A few days later, I went to his place. There it was, his building Climbing the, stairs now carrying my stuff…maybe I should leave…No!…  finally the door._ I knocked and was confronted with a very spacey looking guy: no make up, an old 1920’s flapper dress on – nothing else  and he’s playing a bunch of old 78 records on a tinny little record player.

I definitely wondered what I had gotten myself into, but too late, I’d come this far. His name was Robert, and he said that others were coming as well. Holy Mackerel! I thought. So I got changed into my outfit, a white satin blouse with a gold satin skirt, and appropriate accessories and make up, and we chatted. After awhile the others came in one by one, and pretty soon there were five or six of us around the dining table. I’ll tell you the thing that struck me most was seeing other guys dressed up instead 0f just my mirror image all the time. It was kind of a shock to see the masculine/feminine image. I  felt this is what people see in me! But, just like my friends, I found it easy to get used to.

The person I liked best was Paul, a fun loving Brit who would fit right in with our crowd. He moved back to England last I heard. Needless to say, after awhile I went to another gathering. This was in 1980, and was held at a TS’s place. I don’t recall how this came about, but I went to Diane’s (the TS) and sat in the car, going through the usual brain wringing over whether to go in. I was dressed all in satin again (what else?) but was in a state of  paralysis until I saw a person another TV – crossing the street and entering the same place I was going to. That did it! In I went Inside there was a much larger crowd than there had been at Robert’s. I sat down next to a nervous little guy, and struck up a conversation, He says his name is Lary and he’s from Nova Scotia. later on I went into the kitchen, and there was Lary talking to this other person, so I grabbed a beer and joined in.

Lo and behold, it’s the same person I saw crossing the street who unknowingly proved to be the catalyst to my going in. His name was Ted, and we all got along like three peas in a pod. As you may have guessed, Ted and Lary are the same Ted and Lary we all know and love. There were others there that we got along well with, particularly Nila, an honest to God real woman whom we had a lot of good times with. So here we all are some years later with a really fine group of ladies which I feel is going to be a real success in furthering our lives, as long as everyone participates in some way. Personally, I find this news letter a lot of fun to contribute to and I hope I can come up with some other stuff to write about in future issues. I hope we can organize some get to gethers like barbecues, trips to the Gatineaus and parties (my birthday in August  ha! ha!) At any rate, we could wind up doing a lot.

Jim

Editor’s Note

Since I am mentioned in the above, readers may be interested to read a portion of my journal entry for the event, dated May 4, 1980. …So off I motored to 225 Maclaren St. Though it was just past eight, the sky was still very light and there were several people on the street…Gradually the party began to liven up. I ended up in the kitchen talking to Jim who, I found, had a lot of experiences similar to mine. He seemed pleased to have found someone who was a “transvestite” who could also, perhaps, become a friend and for my part I thought it was possible too. Laura (Lary) also seemed to have a lot in common with us.” Well I guess! Nine years later and still going strong.

Ted

Limited by the Fantasy

 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who agrees with Sharon’s views, expressed in the last issue of Notes from the Underground, that the only way Crossdressers will achieve any level of acceptance in society is by venturing out into public more often. There is, however, a fundamental contradiction in this opinion and the way crossdressers behave while in public that to me anyway, forever dooms us to the fringes. Put simply, when a crossdresser goes out in public, he has done his very best not to be noticed. He’s thrilledwhen people don’t pay attention to him because he assumes they think he’s a woman.

Being a crossdresser, I can appreciate the fantasy. I have it too, but being as tall as I am, I have been either blessed or cursed with the necessity of finding another way, and that way, to me at least, is the realization that we crossdressers place far too much emphasis on passing. This is completely understandable, of course, not only because we enjoy it, but also because it gives us a level of security. Many of us look quite different in pants, no make up and with our hair shaved (or missing), so when we meet our co-workers in a restaurant there’s a possibility that they may not recognize us in our skirts and wigs. This is one of the drawbacks of having one foot in the conventional world and one high heeled foot on the wild side. The conventional wins out because it’s the safe side, and we’ve built our lives on these foundations. Personally, I dislike having to split my life in two like this. I have read so many times the advice that this is the way it must be for transvestites, that we must compartmentalize our lives into-male and female. I call this old thinking, more suitable for the 50’s than the 90s. I have no wish to change my sex, but if it were solely left to me, I’d probably be wearing skirts 80% of the time, and I know for certain that I wouldn’t` spend hours every day trying to look like a woman. That’s just too much work, although I do enjoy it sometimes. I would, however, enjoy wearing the clothes I like to wear. I’m not saying my perceptions are the correct ones; everyone has a greater or lesser desire to be “like a woman”. One of the wonderful things about transvestism is its in definability. There are no stereotypes, though goodness knows society does its best to create them. I am saying, however, that we limit ourselves by our fantasy, that crossdressing will never move beyond its present repressed state until people perceive it as a simple choice.

Many people understand it when you say that you’re more comfortable in feminine clothes. What they dont understand is why you must look like a woman as well.

When I was young, I decided I liked skirts and other feminine clothes better than I liked the clothes I was supposed to wear. Once I tried one item, I wanted to try everything else and I found I enjoyed the feminine look as much as the feel. I just dont believe that when I want to wear my skirts, I absolutely have to look like a woman to do it, Of course, that doesn’t mean I look like society’s comic stereo type of a man a-dress. It simply means that it is possible to develop your own feminine style. The conventional thinking among TV’s has frequently been that we’ll be better accepted if we’re dressed to look as much as possible as women, but this isn’t necessarily true at all. I’ve had women come up to me and tell me that they like it that I’m not trying to impersonate them. I assume that they believe like some do, (wrongly of course) that we’re mocking women in some way. The point is the conventional wisdom doesn’t hold water. It does, I will grant you, take more courage to be walking around in your skirts with maybe only a touch of make up on (or none at all for that matter), but as far as I’m concerned that’s the freedom I want. It’s the freedom to say, “Yes, I’m male but I enjoy wearing feminine things. Is there a problem?”. Of course, I’m nowhere near where I want to be yet, and it’s true that I may fail. “But a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” I’m not interested in cultivating a second self, just one fully rounded self which can express its feminine or masculine sides whenever it pleases. That way, if I do succeed I’ll know I’ll he free all the time and not just half the time.

Ted

Every Morning

She gets up in the morning
And wipes away her face
Holds back the tears
And starts the morning race.

Washes off her mascara
Until there’s not a trace
Of the woman who lives inside her
And sees a man she cannot place,

She looks in the mirror
And takes one last look
As she slips off her lingerie
And hangs it on a hook.

She washes off her perfume
Feeling such despair
At least tonight she will resume
In the clothes she likes to wear.

But today for another day
She’ll leave herself at home
Off to work as someone else
She doesn’t even know.

Puts on his suit and tie
Feels so awkward she could cry
Reaches out to grab her purse
Stops herself and then feels worse

Living to please everyone else
She’s got to start thinking of herself
How much longer can she go on
Till someone’s daughter usedto be their son?

Sharon S

 

Reflections on the Forbidden Garment

 

When I was young and innocent but already old enough to know that wearing girls’ clothes was a big no no, I enjoyed the adventure of  trying on my sister’s shoes. I liked her ballet type I slippers because they were soft and looked pretty and liked her mary janes so much more than my own shoes. It came to pass, as it so often does with people like us, that I wondered, given that girls’ shoes were so nice, what other girls clothes I might fancy. One evening I noticed my sister’s short, cheerleader type skirt with.the sewn in panties hanging on my bedroom door. We were a little cramped in the house at the time and my brother and I shared a room on the ground floor.

I don’t know how the skirt found its way to my doorknob, but it was one of those windows of opportunity that TV’s are ever on the lookout for. I found myself pulling on the skirt and had worn it for no more than 5 seconds before the terror of what I was doing hit me. I never really had time to realize whether I liked it or not. I was aware only that I was a most depraved little boy and that I would never, ever wear a skirt again. I was about five years old at the time. Some years later when I had resumed trying on my sister’s shoes, I once again began experimenting. This time I wore, lingerie, progressed to nylons and even a bra, but I resisted wearing a skirt or dress. I had drawn the line.

If I wore a skirt, well, that would be serious stuff. It may mean I was a pervert. Prancing, however furtively, in lingerie, nylons and ballet slippers was just idle amusement which I could, of course, cease at any time. It was illogical, but it seemed for many years a matter of survival that I accept such a blatant falsehood. I was seventeen before I cracked. I put on a polka dot dress of my sister’s. It was too small for me and yet  surprise, surprise – it felt marivellous. I knew it would, of course, because I had finally overcome my self delusion. That day I also was convinced that I was going to like feminine clothes for the rest of my life, which was positive if only because it saved me from the tool frequent TV neurosis of throwing one*s clothes out from time to time and declaring oneself “cured”.

Still, it seems in retrospect that a 5 year old shouldnt have to carry around a burden of guilt like that and that society’s concept of masculinity is itself some how fundamentally flawed when the feminine, even in a 5 year old, is perceived to be such a threat. We are all, in our own ways, survivors though and the most we seem to carry around for all the personal battles we’ve fought is a profound regret that we didnt know then what we know now. I have a black and white photograph of me and my sister standing in front of the drapes at my aunt’s house. I’m wearing a horrid little suit and my sister is wearing a wonderful white dress. I never wore that wonderful white dress, and that’s the story of how skirts became my Forbidden Garments.

Alison T.

The Notes from The UnderGround News Letter Vol.1 No.5

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

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Ottawa ,Canada      Autumm1989     Vol.1      No.5
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My Debutante Soire

As I write this two days later, I wonder why I made such a fuss of going out to dinner with a few friends. A lot ado over nothing, till I remember my very, very rocky road to September 2, l989. To put it all into perspective, we have to go back to our meeting of April I at Judy’s. I arrived excited and nervous: excited at being there, nervous as I was still shy at meeting everyone and feeling a bit inadequate around such seemingly at ease people who seemed to treat the meetings like an every-day occurrence. Plus, a few seemed to know one another quite well and had an easy rapport with one another. That night, if I recall correctly, was the first or second time that I dressed up, as I had been too nervous to do so earlier. As soon as I came in, I saw Barbara, imperious and dignified, talking and seemingly controlling the conversation. I was awed and tried not to draw attention to myself but I envied her for her self assurance and her acceptance of who she was. So I mostly sat and spoke to Karen till everyone started talking about celebrating the group’s first anniversary at a restaurant. I was bursting to tell everyone about my friend’s caf, but I was too shy to mention it. I know, I know, you don’t believe I’m shy but I am) really, sort of. I did manage to blurt it out as I was leaving and Jim mentioned that he’d been there and had liked it. A few days later, I went to George’s and began to broach the subject of some friends of mine, a group actually, renting the caf for supper. As we talked and he told me how he could make money to make it worth his while and yet still keep the cost reasonable, I began to realize that I’d have to tell him that wed be “en femme” for this meal. I began by trying to infer it and then trying two or three different ways before coming right out and telling him. He looked and shrugged and I stared mouth agape. Why wasnt he freaking out and calling me all kinds of names? So I asked him if he truly accepted it or was he trying to be cool? He became annoyed and told me not to tell him what he’d said. Then he told me a quiet and reasonable truth If someone liked me, they’d eventually accept it; but if they disliked me, this would be just another reason not to like me. I was on a natural high. This was my first old friend I’d told, and he’d accepted it. I’ve known George since 1966 and it felt good that, without being overjoyed by it, he was open and actually couldn’t care less either way. On Saturday I told his girl friend Lucie about me and she accepted it totally. She teased me all day, but I in a way that had me in tears of laughter. She kept insisting that I’d becoming tired of being a short man and so had become a tall woman instead. This was a great, two for two, and both had accepted. I phoned Judy to tell her the good news and was floored by her declaration that a restaurant had already been reserved.

I wasn’t angry, I was terrified how was I to go in femme” by bus to the restaurant and come back the same way? I couldn’t do it. I was in a panic, terrified, having daydreams of being beaten up on my way to the bus, on the bus, at the restaurant and/or on my way back. I just couldn’t do it and phoned Judy to lie and tell her that I’d be otherwise occupied that , night. I felt terrible. I hadn’t wanted to lie, but I thought everyone I would go to the supper and think , nothing of it, so I felt a bit ashamed. Tells you how much I knew all of you, doesn’t it? When I found out the party had  been at Judy’s and not at a restaurant I felt even more stupid and childish,  but no one seemed to mind that I had not been there.

To explain a bit: for some crazy reason, I thought I was the newest member and everyone else had done it all and I did feel a bit inadequate. I guess I really should have been more open and asked more questions. I felt like sulking, telling myself I could have done it and told a few members why I hadn’t gone. One or two meetings later, Ted gave me a ride home and I mentioned again my friend’s restaurant, secure in the thought that we’d never go out as a group. Unfortunately, Ted seemed inspired by the idea and began to bring it up at every meeting as I watched in growing horror, praying it wouldn’t attract much interest. Of course, I couldn’t speak of my fears aloud, for hadn’t I been the one to so cavalierly suggest that my friend’s restaurant would be ideal. I began to understand the old dictum “hoisted on one’s own ptard”. It was too late. I felt honor bound to tell everyone that yes, George had okayed it and would be glad if we held our supper there, but I did specify that we needed 20 persons to rent the cafe out right This I knew was my graceful way out. As summer progressed and the target date of early September crawled ever closer, I felt more and more secure that no way would we get 20 persons to together.

That would have been the end of it if my conscience hadn’t pricked me into putting my other foot in my mouth. We could, I mentioned, rent the smaller, west side room, with only 10 to 12 persons. Suddenly, everyone jumped at it, and my fears had a double attack. I know, I know, for a reputedly intelligent person, I sometimes say and do pretty stupid things. As they told me to go to George to formalize our reservations, I sat there and nodded blankly while my heart beat out a wild tattoo and my brain suddenly went blank low in case this sounds like a devious plan from a devious mind, let me point out that going out in public terrified me. No way was I going to do it. I’d never pass, I didnt look enough like Raquel Welch. In short, I would have found any excuse not to go out while still desperately wanting to go out.

A paradox we all recognize, I’m sure when I finally went to see George, I found out to my great shock that he wouldn’t be there that holly would be the one I’d have to deal with. I’ve known Holly for 18 years, although we’d just recently seen each other again after l0 years. I’d made another famous faux pas telling her how much she’d aged then trying to save myself by explaining that she’d gotten character over the years. Holly let me drown on that one. It seemed that luck would smile on me when Lucie came in and gave me the basic options we could have, how much it would cost, etc. and George would tell Holly about us. I’d just come back late that afternoon for a 2 minute chat. Unfortunately, life seems to delight in sticking a branch between my legs to surprise me once in awhile when I returned to confirm it all with holly, the first thing she asked was if it was true that the supper was for a cross dressing support group. It caught me totally off guard. I looked at the other waitress, an 18 year old whose eyes were as round as dollar coins. I finally got Holly to go to the other side so we could talk away from people having afternoon coffee and who seemed to me to have heard every word so far. I tried to stick to the menu and costs but all she wanted to talk about was where I knew this group from, had I known them long, had I worked with one of them…? I finally admitted that I belonged to the group and that seemed to quiet her down. I then gave all the pertinent data to Ted and assumed that everything was taken care of. Unfortunately, the soap opera wasn’t finished yet.

A few nights later, I went for coffee at the caf to talk to my favorite waitress Kim. She asked if I’d told Holly we were going to be there “en femme”. I said yes. She then suggested that I have another chat with Holly and I felt too old for this. Life should getting easier not harder. So the next day I returned to the caf with some trepidation. Holly had seemed to me to be wary of the idea, how would she react to this?” I asked her if she knew that the group would be in dresses and I could tell by the look of astonishment on her face that I’d forgotten to tell her. The funny thing is that she’d just told me how pleasant Ted had been and how she thought she might like to meet him in a different setting. I tried very hard to allay her fears saying it was a heterosexual group, that we had a doctor in the group, that most had good jobs and were well respected by their peers etc…So I lied a bit, it was for a good cause.

Now all I had to do was talk to Mimi and Sheryl to see if they had any problems with it, but Mimi told me she’d known a few transsexuals and had almost shared an apartment with one so she thought it was a great idea. Sheryl said she knew I’d acted too perfect, too straight to be true. They were both looking forward to it and hoping we’d have a good time. The supper was never in jeopardy, but I wanted the staff on our side, or at least neutral and open minded. Now all that was left was for Saturday night to arrive, what could go wrong?

Actually, a lot could. The closer it got, the tenser I became. I lived on coffee and cigarettes for the last three days alternating between going “en femme” or in jeans or not going at all. Why had I mentioned this caf? I was now going to have to appear as a woman in front of three real women I knew. What if one of the caf regulars showed up?

On Saturday I worked till 4 pm helping George paint walls, clean up, finish the men’s washroom and feeling more and more like I couldn’t do it but Holly and Mimi kept telling me that tomorrow I’d hate myself if I didn’t do it tonight. I went home, showered and forced myself to bring my clothes to Ted’s. There I must have driven Laura and

Alison to distraction by having running arguments with myself. I thought it a bit ridiculous going out in public to a place I hang out at when most people tend to go where they’re sure not to meet an acquaintance. At 7 pm I grow dressed, but then felt like , sitting down and watching television all night. Finally we drove to the caf I was so scared that Ted hadn’t ever turned off the engine before I was out of the car and in the caf, when it suddenly hit me that there might be other diners there. But once I was sitting down with my friends, a lot the doubts and all the anguish disappeared and I knew I’d done the right thing. I think it helped to know that Karen, Barb and Leigh had also gone through some of the same things as this too was their “debutante soire.The evening was perfect. I felt great and the feeling got better, as the service and the food were excellent and everyone loved Mimi. When I think of it now, I believe that this night will always be special for me. In the next few days, I talked to Mimi, who told me she loved us and had a fantastic time I Of course she’s only 22 years old (haha). Holly loved it and was happy when I told her that some people mentioned that if we have one for Christmas, we should return here. I also nosily asked how she felt about Ted now. She said that at least she knew before hand and not a year down the road. If they do go out, I think I should get a match maker fee of $21 from each. I think it is fair. To finish this, I would personally like to thank each lady who came and helped make my “debutante soire’ such a success. THANK YOU to Judy, Barb, Karen, Sharon, Alison, Rachel, Laura and Leigh for being there for me and more importantly, for being yourselves.

Mitsook

P.S. I think Barb had the nicest top but Laura and Leigh out dressed us all, the bitches!

A License for Prejudice

A few evenings ago, I attended a business related dinner and the subject of prejudice was raised among the people I was with. My boss put forth the statement that people should not have any prejudices towards anyone else .The conversation shifted to a discussion about people of other races and of how unfortunate it is that so many people hold so many negative opinions about these people. I As I listened to the conversation, I couldn’t help but notice a blatant demonstration of hypocrisy on the part of my boss. My employer knows of my female gender, but views my feelings as being disgusting, and he most certainly has no willingness to try and a understand my predicament. To many, transvestism and Tran sexuality provide a license to be prejudiced. Although I likely have a biased opinion, I still cannot understand why anyone should look upon those such as ourselves so negatively, and frankly I am fed up with the attitudes of others. No one should be forced to live in a way that is totally contrary to their own needs and desires, and to have an opposite set of rules and conditions forced upon them is to me the most inconsiderate treatment anyone can be made to endure short of physical torture. I am not a murderer, a thief or dishonest. My actions do not hurt anyone and I am not trying to gain attention. I am just struggling to live the way I most desire, and the only way I feel comfortable.

What really gets me is how people try and force their beliefs based on their own feelings of how they think we should be. I know some people who are really trying to make me be a man, and they keep telling me that my desire to be female is just a silly whim and that one day I’ll wake up and realize the error of my ways. I once sought the advice of a minister, thinking that surely such a person would be understanding, only to be Beaten and clubbed black and blue with a bible, under the threat of spending at least one eternity in the fires of hell unless I stopped doing what I’m doing. I wish that somehow I could put these people in my shoes for one day. Maybe then they would understand. I have gained one thing from all of this and that is that I have become much more understanding and accepting of those who are different than me. I still can’t be accepting of those who won’t accept me. I can learn to be tolerant of their negative attitudes, but I wonder if they can do the same, It is unfortunate that often those who are the most understanding are often persecuted the most by others.

Sharon

Debutante Soiree Another View

Dear Diary,

We went to Rosie Lee’s for a splendid Saturday night dinner with the girls. Judy and I drove downtown arriving too late to get the parking spot Alison took right in front of the restaurant. We had to park a long, long block away and walk among people to get to the restaurant. I started walking so fast that if I had cleats on my heels I’m sure I would have looked like I was on fire, well, Judy (God bless her) restrained me and held my marching step down to a casual walk. After furtive glances (“try not to look suspicious”), and playing with my hair, and looking down, I realized the sky was not falling and we were not being watched.

We were out two girls strolling down Laurier Avenue: one casually dressed and walking casually, the other probably just off work, still dressed in her suit, which is why she seems spaced out. We finally got to the restaurant and were asked if we wanted a table for two when Judy shook her head, we were asked if we were with the Ross party. (We passed) I looked around a little bit dazed to see who was watching us just a few eyes checking out the commotion by the front door. And then we were led to our room: nine of the girls were there! Alison,  Rachel, Laura, Leigh, Sharon, Ross, Barbara, Judy and me (Karen). We passed a delightful evening together. There should be awards for these categories: For avoiding anything green, nominees are Laura and Judy. And the winner is… Laura. For consuming the most Red Stripe: Judy (no other contenders). Alison gets the award for conspicuous dexterity with numbers while under duress (threatened cash shortage). Alison also gets the award for creative body contortions in response (to photography aversion. her prize is a new set of Foster Grants. (Those are sun glasses Alison, not Australian beer). Leigh and Karen (me!) were the photographers.

We are being nominated for perseverance. The winner will be served a three course meal of photo supplies. The most dignified (quiet) was Sharon (aside from me). The award for most frequent visits to the kitchen goes to Ross, without whom this whole escapade would not be possible, and to whom we all are very grateful. An award also goes to Ross for cheerfully recounting innumerable times how the evening came about. Many thanks Ross, (Rosie?), and to the staff at Rosie Lees whose picture will be cherished in our archives. Too soon the evening came to a close. After Alison dazzled us with New Math, Judy (the Red Stripe winner) tried out her legs and we headed back to the car. I enjoyed our walk back, the cool summer breeze waiting softly past, soothing my legs with reassuring caresses while occasionally blowing my silk scarf up into my face. I luxuriated in the sensuality of a walk: I should have parked miles away}. Another quiet ride home to Judy’s and the summer nights dream came to a peaceful ending. But there will be others, today Rosie Lees, tomorrow the world!

Karen

TO ALL MEMBERS

Our Christmas dinner is coming. We’re hoping to set a date for sometime in early December at the Rosie Lee Caf en Laurier Avenue Last. Those who attended the last (first) supper in September had a thoroughly geed time with good feed and drinks and excellent company (ourselves). As Christmas is a busy season for any restaurant, it behooves plan ahead and ask the members make a decision on whether they can attend or net and let us knew as seen as possible. Also, if I may, a deposit with the reservation would greatly be appreciated to cover the cost of putting a deposit and assuring the presence of all who say they’ll come (of course last minute emergencies do occur).

For these who weren’t in attendance at the ether supper, we partook of a hot asparagus and red pepper soup, a Caesar salad with house seasoning, a vegetarian lasagna, chicken marinatec in wine, rice plus two different cakes plus coffee and the manager gave us some wine free of charge. The owner and staff are sympathetic and sensitive to us and will provide a safe, pleasant environment, se let’s have wives, girlfriends, significant ethers and friends come along to make it even mere of a success. Se please respond early and if yet can please let us knew what date would be most acceptable.

Ross