Maxine is a York transvestite, part of a thriving world which few people know or understand. Here she explains what it means to be involved in that world, introduces some of her friends, and reveals the emotional and practical challenges they face
OMG, it’s the RTV/OTV, TS/CD challenge ! (lol)
This is the quiz section. If you want to go in for this, the challenge is to write down what you think the abbreviations above stand for – they’re all explained in the piece, so don’t start reading too soon if you’re going in for the quiz. You don’t get any points for the first and last abbreviations, but there is a bonus of two points if you can say who introduced the OMG one, and when.
Ready for the answers?
RTV is short for regular transvestite, and this is what I am.
Dressing up is a lot of fun, I find, so I try to do this most weekends and sometimes other times, which makes me an RTV in the jargon of our world. My “brother” is cool with this (we are Geminis), and has let me take over most of the available wardrobe space at home.
I guess there may be deeper aspects to this (the dressing up, I mean, not the relative amount of wardrobe space), so if folks would like we could perhaps try a “psychoanalyst’s couch” type piece in the future – but I am generally having so much fun that I don’t stop to think much about these things. Like finding something gorgeous new to wear, and seeing what effect it makes the first time you go out in it.
Ready for the second answer?
OTV means occasional transvestite, which is Sue.
She has told us that she wanted to dress in this way since she was very young and living at home, which was a problem as the family lived in the industrial part of West Yorkshire. Sue’s “brother” still works in a factory over there, so Sue had to keep everything secret about herself.
Now she has grown up, she just likes to come out for special occasions and big events, like Sparkle in Manchester each year.
Third abbreviation coming next:
TS is short for transsexual – this answer is not too difficult to get, but it’s the hardest one to actually do, by a long way. Simone has chosen this route. Or perhaps we mean this is the path she had to follow.
All of us take our hats off to Simone (if we’re wearing one), if not we curtsy to her, because she has had to make the biggest decisions. She lives the life 24/7, and has done things which make her body different. There is lots more which could be said on these subjects, and for any reader who is interested we suggest they could have a look at International Repartee, the glossy magazine produced by the main organisation for people like us, where these matters are gone into in more detail.
But for the purposes of this quiz, let’s just say that Simone is different from the other girls because she is a country girl – the rest of us here are basically townies. Simone has lived in the same house in a village all her life, going out to work and then looking after her parents in their final years.
Having to work as her “brother” for all those years just did not feel right to her, but she didn’t see what she could do about this, which got her down. After her parents had passed away, she began to dress at home, which was better. But it was only when Simone got to know Maxine that she was emboldened to start going out and about.
She has never really looked back since, as you can tell from her picture. Nowadays, Simone runs her own gardening business, and if you need a tree felling she employs some big guys who can do this.
How are you doing, score wise? Remember, it’s two points for each correct answer. The final one, CD, looks easy, but you don’t get any points in this quiz if you’ve put compact disc. If you’ve put cross dresser you can have one point, but what you need to have put to get the full two points is closet dresser.
I thought that for every one of us girls who goes out and about, there were maybe three who only existed inside their own homes. I didn’t really know (nobody can) about this, so asked Bella Jay, who is the editor of Repartee. She thought the answer was more like ten.
The reason for this is because it’s quite a big thing to do: it took me about six months (of buying stuff and practising at home) from when I first got the urge, to the first time I stepped out the door of my house into the big world – it took Simone several years, because of her circumstances.
Just imagine, you step out your front door in full fem-mode for the first time, for a stroll into the centre of York. As you set off, you are first spotted by a neighbour; then on the journey meet a friend who “reads” you; although you are grown-up and live on your own now, a little bit further on the same happens with someone from your own family; then you encounter a colleague from work, perhaps your boss!
And all you were thinking about was buying some new lippy.
All these possibilities need thought and preparation before you put yourself in a situation where they could happen.
Some people never make this step into the public eye, for all sorts of reasons like these. All the girls featured in this piece were more or less unattached when they started out on this path: try to imagine the problems and difficulties which could (and do) happen when you are wanting to go down this road, but you have a wife and children at home! Your beloved wife finds that the man she married is turning into a woman at times. Your adolescent daughters, who are already confused enough due to their own hormones, find that Daddy is now starting to emulate them, and takes forever getting ready in the bathroom…
Some people do dress and go out, but are not quite as upfront about it as Simone and me. As I said, there are various groups and organisations who run special events which cater for this need – like arranging a weekend at some hotel in a discreet or remote spot, where the whole hotel is booked just for T-girls. This enables those who are not totally public about their female persona to arrive in boy-mode, then change into whatever fem outfits they have brought, and spend a whole weekend this way among like-minded people.
When I’ve gone on something like this, my largest suitcase hasn’t been big enough – there were loads of bags besides! One time I remember, I didn’t even bother with a case – just put almost the entire wardrobe contents straight into the back of my estate car. Simone made her first journey ever outside of England on one of these, when we went to North Wales once.
So, for the “girls in the closet” section what we’ve done is take one of us altogether, with a friend who was prepared to play this role in the picture.
How did you do in the quiz – the “the RTV/OTV, TS/CD challenge”? If you got the maximum ten points that’s scary – none of us got the bonus points. If you got 4-8 that’s cool, and we’d like to meet you on one of our nights out in York. One to three points, well you had a go, but this is not your area – but then, none of us knows much about fishing, or knitting.
If you didn’t get any points and your answers were “reality television”, “ordinary television”, “television star” and “compact disc” – we think perhaps you need to get out and about a bit more.