The Last of the Trannies
Posted by Emma in May 2018
(With apologies to James Fenimore Cooper for appropriating the title)
Now before anyone gets incensed by the title of this latest raving of mine let me explain: I consider myself a Transvestite. In fact, I consider myself an Action Transvestite or, if I can be excused a momentary lapse in modesty, a Celebrity Transvestite. It doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge or accept anyone else’s self-description or identifier but it saves me having to include every known title…I mean, The Last of the Trannies/Crossdressers/T-Girls/T-Gurls/Chicks-with-*cough* etc would read somewhat ridiculously wouldn’t it? Anyway, on with the read:
I’ve been thinking about this on-and-off for a while – in fact I lightly touched on it in a previous rambling of mine. Are we, the girls running around now, the last of our kind? Let me explain. I had something of an epiphany at Transformal on the weekend…apart from maybe 3 or 4 of the lovely ladies who attended this wonderful event we were all the wrong side of 40 and most of us the wrong side of 50 years old. I was chit chatting about the similarities a lot of us have (often being tall-ish, taking care about how we present, like “getting on the grog”, love to dance etc) with my new best buddy the lovely and super smart Mel, daughter of Fay, whilst we shared yet another fag among the foliage outside. Now before anyone gets too overheated about that, Mel and I shared many fags over the weekend as we are both consenting adults. Mel asked me about how long I’ve been doing the dressing thing and how I started…. (Insert harp music and a wavy images)
Back in the day, and we are talking the early 1980’s, I used to run around in a fast and fun crowd of t-girls. We were in our 20’s, each as fit as a trout, and up for anything. We would carouse at a hotel called The Buckingham Arms or another called The Green Dragon with every other combination of gender diverse folk on Friday and Saturday nights and we had an absolute ball. There were 3 girls I caught up with regularly who were like me in age but there was an extended gang of perhaps up to 15 who would turn up intermittently on these nights. There were lots of other age groups there as well including a couple of girls who would have been about the age I am now who used to tut tut at our behaviour and look down their noses at us – for me, nothing has changed over the decades since. We used to call these old t-girls “Hinge & Bracket” (lovers of musical theatre will pick up on that reference) and they wanted nothing what-so-ever to do with us. Probably fair enough too. All that aside, there was some sort of succession plan in place. The older ones simply eventually disappeared off the pub scene and the next group more or less took their place in the same way a vending machine works. The older ones tended to become office bearers in The Carousel Club (the local version of The Seahorse Club) or write dull articles in gay newspapers.
Eventually, even I grew older, changed names a couple of times, and long stopped going to so-called gay venues. I also had 8 years off here and there for various reasons before slipping back in to our lifestyle as if I’d never been away. The thing that I really noticed when I came back, apart from so many girls hiding behind their keyboards and relying on photos taken last decade, was that there was no longer any young ones around. Not one. Why was this?? Fleshing the whole scenario out with Mel gave me clarity: the reason there are no young trannies around anymore is that there is no need for them. The generations coming up behind us, and we are talking from those in primary school now to their 20’s, do not see colour. They do not see religion. They definitely also do not see sexuality or gender diversity. Boys and girls run around together in friendship groups with no sexual overtones and they are constantly hugging each other. If a young male of 21 wishes to express his feminine side, regardless of his orientation, he can whack on a bit of lippy and some slacks straight out of a remake Can’t Stop The Music and off he goes without fear. There is also a sub-culture of men in Europe who wear business suits and high heels I hear. If a young lassie wishes to wear a sharp white pressed shirt, waistcoat, spats, and a homburg tilted at a jaunty angle she can head outside like that as well which must make the manufacturers of bib-and-brace overalls shudder with fear. Sexuality, and sexual orientation, is fast becoming a dead issue and in perhaps 20 to 30 years will be completely a non-issue. Yes, we can all point to individual examples in today’s world but I am speaking “in general”. In the not-too-distant future being Gender Non-specific will be commonplace. A man with a highly developed feminine side will be no more remarkable than a man these days with a Ned Kelly beard.
So are we the last of the Trannies? I suspect so. I suspect we will go the same way as the Masons, the Night Soil Man, the Anti-Larrikin Squad, and Bob Santamaria’s Point Of View. Society moved passed all of them and it will move past us as well. Is that a bad thing? No, of course it isn’t. Society evolves – that is exactly what it has been doing since we either crawled from the primeval slime or stole that forbidden fruit. It is healthy and it is right.
One day, long after we are all pushing up the daisies, someone somewhere will crack open the TGR files and the cornucopia that has been our lives will be laid bare for future generations to study and marvel over. The will be astonished at what we did and why we did it. They will also wonder how we created these other lives and all our secrets will be laid bare – the baffling ones and the ones that make complete sense and the ones that sit somewhere in the middle. Some of them will be green with envy that they were born in the wrong time and that they never went to a lunch get-together with a bunch of t-girls at a pub or that they weren’t able to attend a Transformal. Maybe they will have Tranny weekend festivals like those weirdo’s do who dress up in medieval outfits and bash each other over the head jousting? Who knows? Maybe the really interested ones will place a plaque at The Carrington noting that it was the location where these wonderful events were held and they might just plant some flowers for their favourite girls? (FYI future people if you’re reading this: I love orchids just on the off-chance I’m someone’s favourite). It’s something to think about isn’t it? Whatever happens, whenever it does, know that in this day and age when communication has never been easier or more prolific that we, the last of the trannies, will provide the most information of any generation that came before us right back to when Ugg started trying on his wife’s fur loin cloth in some dingy cave in Ethiopia millions of years ago.
You are all special and you will all leave your mark.