One of the questions at last night's transgender - cross dresser support group meeting was what was your earliest remembrances of obtaining any information at all concerning your gender differences.
Being the oldest in the group, I was the only one to remember Virginia Prince , her Transvestia Magazine and The Society for the Second Self... for male heterosexual cross dressers. The last issue was in 1979.
Over the years, Virginia finally has began to receive the credit she deserved for being one of the pioneers of the cross dressing movement all the way to the beginnings of understanding the transgender movement. She came from a socially prominent family in Los Angeles and like so many of us struggled (and lost) a marriage because of her cross dressing. She began cross dressing when she went to a church Halloween party dressed as a woman and no one knew. So, again, many of us followed the same path as her.
I know I first obtained a copy of one her books "The Transvestite and His Wife" (1967) and immediately read it approximately three times. I also subscribed to "Transvestia" for awhile. Plus, my first dealings with other transvestites came from a Virginia Prince connected group in Cleveland, Ohio. So I owe a lot to her as a pioneer.
The woman who really hit me hard was Canary Conn. This had to be around 1978 and I saw her on a television talk show promoting her book. She was a pop singer, formerly known as Danny O'Connor. I did buy the book and read it twice. I was about the same age as her at the time. I knew what I was prior to that but Canary Conn made a profound impact on my life. I knew then that I had to transition but, for many reasons, never did. More info on Canary Conn here:ReplyDelete
In 1963, I was a twelve-year-old, going it alone. I honestly don't remember learning about anything having to do with transvestism; nothing that really affected what I was feeling about myself and my gender identity. I think that I was actually a transphobe back then, but I was already adept at applying makeup while behind the locked bathroom door. I was, alternately, prideful at the young woman I saw in the mirror, and disgusted with myself for "giving in" to something for which I seemed unable to control. I really didn't want to know of others who were like me, because I never could see myself being like anyone else. In retrospect, I knew, even then, that I was not a cross dresser. What I wanted to be was a woman, but not just during those times when I could sneak into the bathroom to look like one. Aside from Christine Jorgensen, I hadn't heard of anyone who was even close to the way I felt about myself.ReplyDelete
It almost didn't matter what, or who, I knew about when I turned seventeen. It was then that I embarked on a successful suppression that lasted for another seventeen years. When I broke the mold, I was still going it alone. I went back to hiding behind locked doors, but with a family and a job, there was so much more to be hiding from. My thought was, why would I seek out a role model who would abandon their established life for the selfish endeavor of being who she was? Well, now that I'm another 17 plus 17 years older (68), I'm pretty lucky to still have my family while being the not-so-selfish woman I am. It was not by any prominent figure that got me here, but I did get here with a little help from my friends - you included, girlfriend!