I get out and about a lot in England, and I’ve got used to the idea that I can go anywhere I like. Visiting Singapore reminded me that not all countries are so liberal. Before going out and about I joined a Singaporean online chat group. I discovered that a trip to the ladies could get you into a lot of trouble. But equally, t-girls do go out and about – one just has to be careful not to get confused with the ladyboys who congregate around Orchard Towers…
So I decided to take my courage in both hands, and see what happened. On my first outing I met up with a really sweet guy from the discussion forum, who never went out dressed but who was intrigued to meet up with another t-girl. He seemed to be about two feet shorter than me, and appeared at first quite shocked about the vast apparition that loomed before him at the appointed meeting place. But he relaxed, and tried very hard to overcome his astonishment at the vast white t-girl beside him, and we spent a great couple of hours chatting. He took this photo on Orchard Road. If I look a little dishevelled its because I disembarked an aeroplane after a 13 h flight about two hours beforehand – probably my craziest excursion to date. But well worth it, for the conversation and the glorious feeling of the hot night air on my bare legs.
I’ve been back to Singapore since, and managed to get out. Here are a couple of photos, taken near Clarke Quay. The latter photo was taken by a couple of Chinese girls. They seemed to be in earnest debate over the camera as I posed, and I wondered if they felt awkward about photographing a t-girl. It turned out that the lights messed with the contrast in my cheap camera and the debate was all about finding the best setting. Very sweet of them to care, but illustrative of how folk of all nationalities can be less bothered than one might expect about one being trans.
In the early ‘90s I had the pleasure of living in the beautiful city of Seattle for a period of time. I fell in love with America during that time. My work has taken me back many times since and often I take a well-packed suitcase that enables me to dress for dinner after the day’s work has been done, or occasionally to have a couple of days sightseeing at the end of a conference. I’ve run into some interesting folk along the way. This picture shows me with an “off-duty” Nicholl Lynn Wootan in Sue Ellen’s in Dallas (above). They have a busy “gaybourhood” in Dallas, including several bars. JR’s is for boys and Sue Ellen’s is for girls. Nicholl has been out and about en femme since the early 70s and had some great stories to tell. Two nights later I returned and found it was karaoke night. I had the pleasure of hearing a black man singing country songs in a lesbian bar in Texas. That should shatter anybody’s preconceptions about what America is!
I love Chicago! Here’s a photo taken on North Michigan Avenue during a stopover en route to Denver. This was in March, just in between the seasons of extreme cold and heat that are found in the Mid-West. I flew en femme to Denver after this stopover – a wonderful experience (more about that on another page). The picture below shows me in Denver’s Civic Center, not far from the wonderful Denver Art Museum. At the Art Museum I got into conversation with a woman whose son was trans. Like a lot of trans people he had mental health problems and he was also going “off the rails”. She poured her heart out to me and I was really touched at how hard it all was for her, much though she was trying desperately to assure him he was loved and accepted.
Baltimore has a wonderful railway museum, the B&O Railroad. I spent a very happy afternoon there in 2014.
California is a wonderful place to visit, and provides the final few photos on this page. The first two photos were taken in La Jolla, at Seal Cove on the left and at the wonderful Puesto Mexican Street Food restaurant. The Mexican theme continues with a photo of me smiling and full of Huevos Rancheros in San Jose, alongside a photo in my hotel room in San Diego six months later wearing very nearly the same outfit. They were washed in between times… that skirt’s one of my favourites. We finish with a photo of my good friend Becky and myself in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, and a portrait of yours truly in Union Square San Francisco. Becky and I live on different continents, but through the marvel of the internet, we got to know each other and eventually met and became friends in the old-fashioned way. The internet has been revolutionary for the trans community.