This newsletter is a labor of love for each of our contributing editrixes. Please join the staff by submitting your own insights into the world of crossdressing. You can send your input to RRBoyd@aol.com, or R. R. Boyd, P.O. Box 2252, Ashburn, VA 20146-9152.
You may have noticed the meeting schedule in last month's The Wild Rose had several dates on Sunday. We misread our 2002 calendar. Most regular chapter meetings are held on the third or fourth Saturday of each month. Sometimes adjustments are made for holidays, so always consult The Wild Rose for the latest updates. The schedule for 2002 is:
Fashion Show hosted by Rebecca
Comportment by Janet
Dinner theater by Marsha
"Don't Pull Your Hair Out!"…or "The Care and Feeding of Wigs"
Program TBA … volunteers needed for both ideas and sponsorship[
Election of Vice President and Spouse Representative
July and August
No meetings will be scheduled; an en drab picnic and an en femme Lawn Party are being planned.
Dr. Kate Thomas, Gender Therapist
Optional: Tri-ESS "Be-All" in New York
Many of us in Chi Epsilon Sigma most likely missed the significance of March 21 in our preparation and expectation of either the dinner theater on the 23rd or of other activities we were involved in, but March 21 is a very significant date to CES. It is far more than the Vernal Equinox or the first day of spring…but in some ways there is a close symbolic relationship between the first day of spring and this chapter.
It was on March 21, 1998, that 26 people met in a hotel conference room to discuss the possibility of forming a chapter of Tri-Ess. No one knew anyone else, none had ever met before, and compounding the issue were eight spouses or significant others who had achieved a degree of compromise or support of the crossdressing activities of the other member, but perhaps were not really ready to meet publicly with others.
So it was with more than just a limited sense of trepidation and concern that tentative greetings were extended to each other-but soon, as the natural barriers to openness began to come down, these 26 began to realize that they were no longer alone. Yes, it had been the internet that allowed this to happen, but the internet could be the two-dimensional monitor and here was a real live person who shared the same background, the same interests, the same concerns that you shared…you were no longer alone! Not only that, all of these other people looked perfectly sane and stable just as you were!
From that first tentative gathering, brought to a head by Grace Gardener's efforts over a six-month period of time, Chi Epsilon Sigma has grown into a stable, viable, and supportive organization. From those first tentative handshakes, the members have created an organization that supports both the crossdresser and the spouse, recognizing that focusing on one to the exclusion of the other creates an imbalance and does neither party any good. From those first tentative exchange of en drab information members have taken the organization en femme into Central Station, into Williamsburg, into Erie Gala, into restaurants, and into dinner theaters. From those first tentative steps outside "the closet," en femme members have participated in the education of well over 150 students at Villa Julie, Goucher, and UMBC-this has been our major community service activity. On the "enjoyment" side, we've done fashion shows, "nights at the movies," educational presentations by Dr. Kate Thomas, informal dinners and picnics-both en drab and en femme, and Halloween Parties and Christmas Parties. We've gone through MBTI seminars to learn the obvious-and sometimes not so obvious…about ourselves and we've done plenty of socializing…all with the single purpose of reassuring each other that we are not alone.
We've had our periods of sorrow and transition as well-we lost in death one charter member in Diane Johnson that first year and two years later Brandy, who had just joined the chapter six months earlier. But on the whole, most other departures have been as a result of members achieving that degree of self-assurance that allows them to move on with their individual lives or by members attaining levels of activities in other organizations that now met their special interests. Some six to ten members out of the original 26 are still with us…and many of those have served in positions within the organization-our first three presidents were present that night of March 21-Grace, Yvonne, and Terri.
However, while we've "come a long way," we still have a "long way to go". So now is the opportunity to give some serious thought as to what the chapter means to you, and how we can work together to ensure that the spirit of service, serenity and support remain with us in Chi Epsilon Sigma.
So while March 21 marked our fourth anniversary as a chapter, it also marked the first day of Spring, that period when the drab of winter is cast aside and nature assumes the mantle of gentleness and growth, of hope and happiness, and of inspiration for the future. May it always be that way for Chi Epsilon Sigma.
When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to that mirror and look at yourself
To see what THAT man has to say,
For it isn't your father or mother or wife
Whose judgement upon which you must pass,
The person whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
Some people may think you are a straight-shootin' chum
and call you a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the Eye,
He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest
For he is with you clear up to the end,
You've passed your most dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend,
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of life,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you cheated the man in the glass,
To those who look deep and know hard the wish to be
Let's the woman inside come out to pass
The time then comes to let this beautiful woman within see
So they both will know their happiness in the glass
(The group that organizes the Southern Comfort transgender weekend each September in Atlanta is planning a Gender March on Washington in 2002. The issue Jane Ellen is addressing is how Tri-Ess and its chapters should support this effort. Ed.)
Dear Friends of Chi Epsilon Sigma Chapter,
As part of the overall transgender community, Tri-Ess and its chapters should stand in solidarity in any reasonable effort to procure civil rights for all transgender people. As you are probably aware, Tri-Ess and several of its chapters have taken an active part in the coalition on behalf of Peter Oiler, who was fired by Winn-Dixie for the sole reason that he is a crossdresser. One of the members of the Tri-Ess Board was also instrumental in the demonstration that took place in Jacksonville, Florida.
At the same time, it will be very difficult for such a march to have a real impact on the course of legislation, or even public opinion. Society at large takes notice of marches only when they involve huge numbers of people. A lot will depend on how the marchers conduct themselves. If they act with dignity, and aim the march at education rather than confrontation, they may accomplish a lot more than their numbers might suggest.
I need to learn more about who is in charge, and what the aims and the approach of the march will be. It may be possible to put a Tri-Ess leader in charge of communicating with the chapters and lining up support for the effort, provided it is conducted with dignity and common sense.
It's interesting the impact that a book can have on a young person's mind. As one grows older, one begins to wonder whether it was the book that created the impression or did the book merely put into words and ideas what had been vague mental concepts. Literally, the ol' "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" argument.
I offer my own experiences with a book few, if any of the readers, are aware of. The book of which I write is L. Frank Baum's The Marvelous Land of Oz. No, Dorothy, we're not in Kansas any more (although that was my home state once upon a time…) but yes, that is the author and the sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
I grew up in Kansas City with a very protective mother and a caring father, but in a neighborhood with more girls my age than boys. While I was a typical boy in many ways (loved playing sandlot baseball and football and hikes and all that) I was also not so typical in that I liked wearing feminine clothes. Something that I knew I didn't talk about to others-even my parents. Anyway, I was encouraged to visit the public library, which I did and apparently read everything in sight…one of these books being the Marvelous Land of Oz. Although I have to admit that I had forgotten about it until I read an article in the "Smithsonian" about L. Frank Baum and this book. What triggered a flush a memories was a parenthetical remark about how the hero of the book, a Tip-short for Tippetarius, was revealed in the final chapters of the book to actually be Princess (that's right, Princess) Ozma of Oz-apparently the evil witch Mombi had transformed Ozma into being a boy, Tip. Tip was given a choice-to remain as Tip or to be transformed back into Princess Ozma. Well, you can guess what the choice was.
And the final words of that chapter apparently rang my chimes…
"…and from the couch arose the form of a young girl, fresh and beautiful as a May morning. Her eyes sparkled as two diamonds, and her lips were tinted like a tourmaline. All a down her back floated tresses of ruddy gold, with a slender jeweled circlet confining them at the brow. Her robes of silken gauze floated around her like a cloud, and dainty satin slippers shod her feet…Speaking the words with sweet diffidence, she said:
I hope none of you will care less for me than you did before. I'm just the same Tip, you know; only-only-
Only you're different!" said the Pumpkinhead; and everyone thought it was the wisest speech he had ever made."
The pictures within the book were not new. I had seen them before, so I knew I had read this book back well before puberty, around the time when I had my first experience at wearing feminine attire…but the question will always be, which came first, the book or the dress?
(The CES girls who attended the Timonium Dinner Theater were: Barb Van Horn, Grace, Yvonne and Linda, Kay and Nancy, Barbara Jane and Sue, Rosemary and Theresa, Marsha and Doneene, Shana and Dianne, Mary Alice, Becky and Vera, Missey and Rene, Patricia, Ellen, and Leslie and Martha. Ed.)
When it comes to going out with the CES girls, I always want to look my best. For the regular meetings I start planning about ten minutes in advance. But our outing to the Timonium Dinner Theater to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat" was so special that I felt compelled to start using Oil of Olay Moisturizing Body Wash three weeks in advance. As Saturday approached I watched closely for zits. Everyone knows the probability of getting a zit rises exponentially with the specialness of the event. Incredibly not a single zit appeared. Just to be on the safe side I packed three shades of blemish cover-up anyway.
Some of us had reserved rooms at the nearby Days Inn for getting ready. Some ladies can just "change" in a few minutes, but I usually "transform" in about three hours. Since traffic out of DC was a disaster that's about all the time I got on this evening too. (Still I was comforted knowing I didn't have any zits.) I borrowed an iron from the front desk. We know a wrinkled dress just won't do when you're going to the theater. I shave without nicks. That's a good omen. The CD goddess must be smiling on me. Armed with Mary Kay lip liner and a few hundred other items I get serious about the evening. Everything works.
However, the biggest and riskiest task still remains. Yep, it's the hair. In confidential consultation the previous week, I've learned that I can't get by with an easy to style and wear shag. It's just not "poofy" enough for a lady blessed with a neck and face the size of mine. I've got a lovely long hair wig that goes half way down my back. It's glossy, feels great and is dynamite fun to fool with. It looks hideous! I've got to go for the "big hair!' I'm astonished that my old standby, big hair shapes up nicely. I grab a spray bottle of "Salon Selective Flexible Hold" and hope it is more hold than flexible. A minute later I'm pleased to be held flexibly and I smell like a fruit salad. Gee, I love that stuff!
I'm feeling pretty good and I'm ready. I decide to "document" my situation. Just in case I fall completely apart before I'm ten feet out the door I want evidence that I once looked pretty decent. I set up the tripod and shoot eighty or ninety digital pictures. I'm starting to wonder if having this much fun is legal in the state of Maryland.
I call Room 701 and hear Mary Alice's sweet voice on the other end of the phone. Funny how recognizing a sister on a "big" night is so immediately reassuring. She said to come on up and that we'd be leaving shortly. I would have taken a couple of deep breaths before going out the door but my girdle was really too tight for that. So I just waltzed to the elevator and prayed that when it opened there would be at least twelve strangers to admire my work. Rats! Empty. I met Mary Alice and some of the others in the changing room and shortly we were on our way.
The Timonium Dinner Theater was only a block away and in no time we were making our grand entrance. Well, I did feel pretty grand on entering and just felt grander as the night went on. Marsha was waiting near the door with our tickets. We presented them to the receptionist who was pleasant and smiling. In fact, the entire staff was just wonderful the entire evening. Perhaps because our group was so large we had tables right down front just a few feet from the performance (and the food.) I felt as delicious as the food.
In a local dinner theater the wait staff are also the actors and actresses. Our waitress was as nice as could be and chatted with us a lot. The salad bar was good and the main course was excellent. I must have been looking exceptionally thin because the gentleman carving the ham insisted I take two slices. (Okay, Okay. The thin thing was just a fantasy, I know.) Oh, by the way, we could drink all the iced tea we wanted since we even had a ladies room reserved just for our group.
Like all dinner theaters, Timonium's recognizes groups in attendance and we were no exception. As we gave ourselves polite applause I scanned the theater to see if there were any obvious recruits in the audience. Clearly, "CES" wasn't a household name and we were passing way too well for anyone to notice. Oh well. The pleasant conversation with others at my table and greeting so many of our group made the pre-show period just fly by.
The show was a delight. I had been in a local production of "Joseph" several years ago, and as soon as the music started I was in a time long ago and a galaxy far, far away. Too soon the show was over, but we didn't race for the door either. We greeted and chatted with members of the cast who were pleased that we were there and appreciated them so much.
I was truly sad to see this evening end. No matter how good the May Kay eye makeup remover works or how good the strawberry scented nail polisher remover is, it's a little gloomy to say good night and go home. I know not every sister is comfortable in such public surroundings, but as Rachel has told me, one hundred percent passing isn't the goal. The goal is to be taken seriously. We all had a wonderful time and were, indeed, taken seriously. Such affirmation is simply breathtaking. There just aren't words to thank Marsha for arranging it all. Well, maybe there are, words like, "When can we do it again!"
We'd like to announce the acquisition of a new book for the Chapter Library-Out and About: The Emancipated Crossdresser-by Lacey Leigh.
Lacey is a Tri-Ess-Alpha Zeta from Phoenix, Arizona-and Vanity Club member and she has written a handbook for crossdressers who want to get out of the closet and enjoy their "second-selves." It is a source of information, advice, and tips on what to do and what not to do if you are really serious about expressing yourself in a manner consistent with your "second self." Over the years Chi Epsilon Sigma members have written a variety of articles for the monthly newsletter, generally related to their own experiences, that cover many of the points Lacey makes. However, those articles could be hard to identify and retrieve to keep on file and here we find that the same information is available in one, easy-to-read volume.
Please contact Becky at email@example.com for details on either how to borrow this book from the library or how to obtain your own copy.
It was last fall in 2001 that we decided to take a trip to the State of Florida to visit relatives and the Orlando Metro Area Chapter of TRI-ESS, Phi Epsilon Mu (PEM). We contacted the President of PEM, Gina, who asked me to provide my TRI-ESS membership card number. Gina sent us her photo and then we had a wonderful conversation by phone. We asked about Alexis who is a past President of PEM and a friend of our friend, Donna Marie. They had both been members of Sigma Nu Rho when she lived in New Jersey. Those two had many great times together, especially, in Atlantic City.
We had no problem checking in at the motel, but we realized that we had forgotten to bring all of the information about where the Friday night, "Girls Night Out" Dinner was except that it was at another hotel. This hotel was at a mall that was about a one half-hour drive from our motel. It was necessary to do some amateur detective work to locate the hotel. We found the President of the PEM Chapter, Gina, and her wife, Karen, in the dining room section of the hotel and we remembered her from her picture that she had sent to us. Then we identified ourselves as Rosemary and Theresa from New Jersey, and we were welcomed with hugs and introduced to the other members of the chapter. We enjoyed a fine dinner and had a delightful conversation with the members that were present. The love and affection for us was tremendous by all members of PEM.
We returned to the motel and the next morning we visited EPCOT. That evening we dressed for the PEM meeting that was held in one of the motel suites that are located within walking distance of our motel room. We decided to drive, however, and we were glad that we did when we left at the end of the meeting.
When we entered the suite where the meeting was being held, on the first floor, we were warmly greeted by each member with a friendly hug and. we think that this is a very nice gesture. Gina, the President of PEM, was wearing a pretty green dress with white lace and this was for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Gina had suggested that the members wear green and some did. We would have done this if we had known. Having traveled so far we were very limited in our wardrobes.
The first thing that Rosemary had to do was to change clothes from blue jeans with her favorite pink tee shirt with ROSEMARY across the front, to her Victorian style dress that is a beautiful flower print and has a dropped waist. Actually, Rosemary seems more interested in fashion and makeup than her wife Theresa. The meeting began with a buffet dinner with New York Style sausage, peppers and onions by Tina. Theresa is from Manhattan and Rosemary is from New Jersey just across the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan and we enjoyed hearing the New York reference. It was delicious and we went back for seconds.
After the dinner and the table cleared the Sisters and wives separated with each group meeting in a different room. Theresa hadn't seen so many wives at a Tri-Ess meeting before and found the discussion to be most interesting although she could not tell Rosemary about it. The same was true for the Sister's meeting where Rosemary could not reveal what she had heard or discussed. Both meetings were conducted in a business like manner, as they should be, and they lasted for most of the evening.
We socialized for some time after the meetings and then we exchanged our final hugs and good-byes. We wrote down the names and addresses of several Sisters that we wanted to correspond with, but unfortunately, we misplaced them. It was a wonderful time and we met many new friends. If only they would e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org,
May we suggest to the Sisters in CES and CDM that if they are planning a trip to Florida that they consider a visit to the Orlando Metro Area Chapter? We were parked on the far side of the building and we want to thank the two tall sisters that escorted us to our car. The Orlando Metro Chapter of Tri-Ess is very friendly and worthwhile visiting. If we ever move to Florida, we would want to join this Chapter.
One place I have always wanted to go as Rachel is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. There is a certain grand elegance about the Kennedy Center that makes it a very attractive place to be. I know I'm not alone among crossdressers who want to attend events there. For those of us who love to dress elegantly, there's no better place to be elegant than at the Kennedy Center.
Of course, part of my fantasy was to be accompanied there by a gentleman. But I got tired of waiting for my knight to appear in shining armor. Let's face it, some of our dreams are just too fantastic to be realized. So I decided a modern woman could certainly go to a concert without an escort. So off I go, on a Monday evening, to see and hear whatever performance may be available. My goal was just to be there. The performance was secondary.
Only one performance was available that evening, and it was marvelous cello concert! The cellist was a young award-winning Russian, by the name of Alexandre Bouzlov. The concert was absolutely marvelous! His first piece was a Schubert sonata, after which he played all Russian composers: Rachmaninov, Rostropovich, and Rimsky-Korsakov. It could not have been better--a Russian playing Russian compositions! And his piano accompanist, Noreen Polera, wore this gorgeous black satin floor-length gown that was to die for!
How was Rachel received in this grand setting? Mostly without notice. There are several theaters in the Kennedy Center. Another lady and myself had difficulty finding which way to get to the theater we wanted. We walked together, exploring several hallways chit-chatting about how confusing this was until we got the right one. Once there, I purchased my ticket like anyone else, and was greeted warmly by the usher who showed me to my seat. Sitting there, enjoying a lovely concert, I couldn't tell anyone was taking any particular notice of my presence. Isn't that the way we always want it to be? Just to be ourselves and blend in with others is one of our highest aspirations.
No dear. Not only has Miss Chatelaine not seen it, she doesn't plan to. No doubt Hollywood makes a ton of money making silly and stupid movies (hence why so many are produced), but the premise of this flick (three college guys successfully pass as co-eds and learn to reform their macho ways) seems absolutely ridiculous. As much progress as the transgendered community has made, it seems men dressing in panties will be a comic bit for God only knows how much longer.
Q: Do real men wear pantyhose?
V. McMahon, N.J.
Apparently so. The Wall Street Journal reported that more and more men - and we're not talking crossdressers - are buying pantyhose these days, especially online. The stated reasons include comfort, warmth and improved circulation. Of course, these pantyhose-wearing guys are hush hush about their undergarment clothing choices. A Michigan journalist and avid cyclist quoted in the article said the feminine stigma attached with wearing pantyhose bothers him. "I once had a girlfriend steal a pair of my boxers," he said. "Why is that OK - but it's a big problem if a steal a pair of her pantyhose?"
Q: Did I hear you can now buy pantyhose with traction?
J. Deere, Moline, Ill.
Yes, tractor-boy, it's true. Wolford now sells pantyhose - equipped with tiny traction-huggy things (not the actual scientific term) - that reportedly help keep your soles firmly in place when you're wearing sandals or sling-backs. The hose comes in neutrals and black and retails for $40 per pair at Wolford stores. Ouch, girls!
Q: Are you a lazy crossdresser?
V. Kelly, Erie
Miss Chatelaine is anything but a lazy crossdresser. However, her male persona is a founding member of Procrastinators Anonymous. Actually, The Lazy Crossdresser is a new book by Charles Anders, a California crossdresser. To Miss Chatelaine's delight, the advice-filled tome is available through Amazon.com's Web site. From what I understand, the book has gotten excellent reviews.
Miss Chatelaine is a feature of Mirror Images, the newsletter of Erie Sisters Transgender Support Group. Visit them at www.geocities.com/eriesisters, or email your own questions to Miss Chatelaine at email@example.com.