The Notes from The UnderGround News Letter Vol.1 No.3
Ottawa, Canada Summer 1989 Vol.1 No.3
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.
P.S. If this passes Ted’s critical eye, I just might be persuaded to continue the story.
(I cant wait! Ted)
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.
(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.
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.
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 correspondentsÃ‚Â 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.