The Notes from The UnderGround News Letter Vol.2 No.5

Ottawa, Canada     Sept/Oct 1990     Vol.2      No.5

Charting A Course

On Sunday August 12th, our group held a meeting in which we discussed a number of subjects which concern us as a group and as a community. Present were Leigh, Joanne, Rachel, Sharon, Belinda, Natalie, Alison, my niece Jeanne, who was good enough to take the minutes, and me, Niki. we met at 7 PM and after some chit chat while we awaited every ones arrival, we began discussing our putting out a brochure or pamphlet to the general public. The aims of this pamphlet would be to dispel myths about crossdressing and transsexualism, and to give facts regarding our particular subculture. Belinda put it quite succinctly when she remarked that we wanted to explain exactly who we were and who we were not. We need to let pe0ple know our group exists and that were available  to them. We also discussed the feasibility 0f getting a phone line so that others could contact us easily. Since the phone would have to be in a private home, we agreed that an answering machine message and a call forward feature, so that the task would be shared among members, would be desirable. If we do proceed with this idea, well need to get info on guidelines for phone counseling fr0m TriEss perhaps, or locally (GO Ottawa maybe, or one of the crisis or help lines).

We also mentioned trying to get a list of professionals <doctors, psychiatrists, etc.) who could act as resource people, not only for the phone line but also for the pamphlet. We decided to keep the group non-pr0fit (sic) to enable us to qualify for government funding. we also did a little brainstorming and reached a consensus on a new name. we hope this meets with the approval of the complete membership. The optimum meeting date would be the second Sunday of every month, but again we w0uld like the input of the full group since each project that is discussed affects everyone. We’re trying to make the second meeting substantially different from the first, but there is no division within the group itself. A few members offered to lay the groundwork for various projects.  Sharon, who initiated the pamphlet idea, will continue to expand on it and refine it and submit it for input and eventually for final ratification. Leigh offered to look into beginning an electronic (computer) bulletin board that could be accessed by persons interested in our subculture and Joanne will look into the costs and options of telephone installation. Finally we broached the subject of media interest and access, and making members available to schools and other groups in order to reach a greater public. In this regard, Natalie suggested we create guidelines and a presentation on our aims and realities. The next meeting was tentatively set for the second Sunday of September. Please let us know (myself or Alison or Judy) if this is not a good time for you. Also, would it be possible to rotate the meetings so no one feels put upon constantly? On the subject of accommodation, we revived an idea thats been floating around for some time. It was suggested that we see about getting space in a community centre or church basement or whatever for meetings. Any ideas or offers to do this? Many things were discussed and this is just a synopsis of all that was said. I would personally like to thank all those that were in attendance as everyone contributed greatly in refining and defining our goals. lf you couldnt make the first meeting, we hope youll attend the next one as we need your ideas and opinions. You matter as much as any member and the more members participate, the stronger the group will be. In any case, regardless of whether or not you can attend, we do need your ideas. I think an incredible beginning was effected and it can only continue and progress if attendance is high and if every member follows up on doing just one thing. I am pursuing the grant/funding aspect and as soon as I receive the government package outlining the steps we need to take, I will bring it to your attention so that we can get those desperately needed megabucks. lf any of you have experience or knowledge about applying for funding, please let me know. In closing, weve begun the 10,000 step journey, as it were, so let us share the burdens of that road and help one another make it to the end; maybe a bit battered and exhausted, but certainly wiser and more whole.

Niki Avon

Thank You


Photo Session

To everyone who participated in our recent photo session. It was fun, wasnt it? Particularly, when the tour bus drove up and dumped its cargo of Japanese tourists in our midst. Wont they have some interesting stories to tell about theirtrip�to Ottawa? So, what do you say, Parliament Hill next time?



A Letter to TV Ontario


Dear Sir or Madam,

Some weeks ago, I sat down with my Saturday morning coffee, turned on the television and stumbled across your kids program “How Do You Do?”. what I saw annoyed me a great deal, and as my irritation does not seem to be diminishing, I am finally sitting down to air my objections.

The episode that I found offensive was the one relating to clothes. The female host was explaining what she was wearing to the show’s resident robot, who was male and the character with which the kids were obviously meant to sympathize. After she had finished, the robot announced that he too would like to wear a blouse, skirt and stockings, whereupon the woman laughed and told him that men wore shirts, pants and socks. She conveniently ignored the fact that women wear shirts, pants and socks also, because if she had mentioned it the double standard would have been obvious. Kids are not dummies. So rather than try to explain it, the writers just pretended it didnt exist. Indeed, the show made a point of emphasizing the approved clothing for boys and used humiliation as its tool for conformity. Im not suggesting that kids should learn about crossdressing – its worth noting besides that in some cultures, men do indeed wear skirts�but it seemed to me that in your drive for conformity, you were simply perpetuating intolerance.

While I was contemplating your reluctance to deal with this issue intelligently, the scene shifted to a mens wear store where an appalling stereotype of a gay male�the sales clerk – was berating the poor robot for his ignorance in clothes. The sales clerk was a thoroughly disagreeable character, and since the kids are obviously meant to identify with the robot, Im aghast at the implications of what you were saying. I doubt if this episode was meant to be malicious, but I find it incredible that no one involved with the production of “How Do You Do?” had the sensitivity or social awareness to be troubled by the negative messages they were sending. If youre going to do something, you should at least attempt to do it right. with a little imagination and, more important, some serious thought this topic could have been presented in an intelligent and comprehensive way. Instead, you appear to have deliberately aimed low. You may have hit your target, but it was no great accomplishment.

Yours truly,




Getting a group going isnt easy, but it can be done. The first problem is, how do I contact the sisters out there? Heres the answer: you cant. You dont know them, but you can do what I did and let them find you. The only way to put this in place is through a common contact point. I used the Ottawa Gay Line. I called them and asked where they would reference a heterosexual male crossdresser. They were stumped, so after 15 or 20 seconds I said they could reference them to me. we setup a meeting for the next Saturday. I went to the GO Center and met the counselors. I did a small presentation on the Tri-Ess organization with copies of the literature I had received from TriEss and pictures of myself at Kennedy Space Center and Jenny of Orlando, Florida. The response was great.

They all thought it was Just fine. I even dated one of the counselors once (a girl, of course). The going was slow at first, but I stayed with it and our happy group is the result. After a time and much effort, I convinced the Ottawa Distress Center to use us as a resource. The rewards I have received from being a part of the group are without equal, and I will always be thankful to each and every one of you. I must say that everything is possible if you try and trying is always possible.



Mont Cascade Corn Roast And BBQ


Location: At a private house in Mont Cascades ski resort village. we have lots of trees, sand and dirt roads Country living at its best!

Date: Saturday, September 29th, 1990 at 2:30, or whenever you can make it. I hope to see everybody there. Spouses and friends most welcome. Your hostess will have lots of food and drink so come hungry. Dress for the weather. It can be a few degrees cooler in the mountains. Be comfortable. Formal wear prohibited.

All other info will be handed out at our next meeting Sept. lst. If you are 0n our local Mailing list, a copy of the map and general formation Will be included. I hope to see you there!


Brains and Bras


The U.S. branch of Mensa, an organization for people more intelligent than 98 per cent of the population, held its annual convention in Los Angeles in June, a meeting to allow minds of the same lofty level to socialize. One of the featured speakers was Audrey Wegner, known as the “bra lady”. She has been a hit at previous gatherings of the brainy folk. Ms. Wegner, a director of a bra and lingerie shop in California, puts on demonstrations relating to her work. “I have dancers who bounce up and down and show how a properly fitted bra gives more support than an off the rack bra,” she says, attributing the popularity of her presentation to the fact people are curious how she can talk for 45 minutes on one subject. “And Mensans are interested in the aerodynamics of the bra.”


Crossdressing Ken


A crossdressing Ken doll was nabbed wearing Barbies duds in a Tampa Florida toy store. Shoppers Carina Guillot and daughter Jocelyn 12, were shocked to find a boxed “My First Ken” doll sporting a purple top and lace apron over a turquoise and purple skirt. Donna Gibbs of Mattel had no idea how Ken got into Barbies garb. “I guess it slipped through the inspectors,” she said. Subsequent investigation by Mattel nabbed the perpetrator, who said he had merely been easing the boredom of the evening shift. He was fired.


Androgynous Managers


A major study of 455 employees showed that managers who are perceived by subordinates to be effective have androgynous characteristics�a blend of male and female qualities. In fact, they have a high level. 0f� both masculine and feminine skills.

Conversely, strongly sextyped managers seem to have limited success as managers. Findings showed that increasing the number of these managers may decrease employee turnover. Feminine qualities were defined as anything from sensitivity to employee needs to alliance building, while masculine qualities covered such things as dominance and possessing a willingness to take risks.


Good Service


Penaco Hosiery in the U.S. now offers a to 11 free hosiery hotline. It offers overnight delivery of hosiery, aimed at business travelers who get runs in their stockings.

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