Colin, a transvestite who may still go by the “femme name” Fiona, was very good to me. He had a boat on the Norfolk Broads, and I spent many happy long weekends on it, driving up and down the rivers, visiting Norwich and the pretty little towns, country churches, pubs and restaurants, in an alcoholic haze. He came to stay with me in Oldham, and we went out together to the Village (the gay area of Manchester) and the Northern Concord weekends, taking lots of tranny photos of each other. Several on my page Snap Snap Grin Grin were taken by Colin.
He did not think I was sensible to transition. He told me of a friend of his, an accountant, who had transitioned and gone to college to learn to be a hairdresser, but reverted after nine months. He portrayed this as a ridiculous mid-life crisis, and the reversion a return to common sense. I felt at the time that if someone was uncomfortable in the presence of a tranny, they would find a TS accountant less disturbing than a TS hairdresser- imagine, one of them touching your hair! Now, I sympathise with the woman, I might have wanted a complete break from accountancy too.
Colin had other friends who tolerated his habit of dressing up in “little girl” costumes, which he had hand-made. Once we drove to the south of England to a company which made disgusting false breasts aimed at the TV market, including a model with a reservoir so that liquid could ooze out of the nipples. I loathed “dominating” him, as he was in control: I got him to kneel in the porch once, in winter, to cure him of it, and sat reading, but felt miserable doing that, and called him in.
Our friendship ended after I transitioned. He promised to take me to the theatre dressed male, but when he arrived he insisted on wearing drag. I drove him there, and strode off in my sensible flats while he tottered after in his far-too-pale foundation, laid on with a trowel, and a mutton dressed as fetus minidress, but just before we left his daughter had phoned and I had snapped at her, and that was the breach of our friendship.
Oh, I am angry and hurt. Now. I hardly know how much I am angry with him, and how much with the situation. His wife tolerated his cross-dressing as long as he did not do it too much, but sometimes she felt threatened by it: his freedom to cross-dress varied.
I hate the queerness of it, the restrictedness of it. I felt I could dress female in the Village when I was terrified dressing in the shopping centre and the supermarket. With some reason: I went with colleagues to a night club in Oldham once, and a bloke tried to snatch my wig. I loathe the transvestite scene, with its jargon- GG for the few wives and girlfriends who turned up stands for “Genuine girl”- and, I am genuine. Yes, yes, tolerance in all things, and if I find them disgusting how may I respond to someone who is revolted by me, and- Oh, the fear, and the unnaturalness, and the fetishism!
I dressed there when I was too frightened to dress anywhere else. And, dressing there, I had an acute sense of my own unnaturalness and wrongness which I have not entirely shaken off. Miserable thinking of it, I lash out here at the mostly inoffensive Colin- my first draft had his surname and the name of the town he lived in, and I thought of putting in a photograph of him, which would be unkind.
I have a right to exist. I have a right to be me, and not to pretend, and it is still hard to accept that.