“Don’t step out of this house if that’s the clothes you’re gonna wear.”


Did you have a good Easter break? In fact, did you get a break over Easter? Not everyone does these days. Luckily for me, I did. Not that I’m one to gloat. Well, okay, maybe a bit 🙂

The other night – at NottsChams – we had a dress code incident. Which is kinda funny (not funny ho ho) because officially we don’t have a dress code. I appreciate that there is a certain amount of irony in a group of TG folk reporting what is proper attire. 🙂 Heh, proper attire, makes me sound like some school ma’am. 🙂 Now I’m not talking about short skirts or low tops. It’s more – how can I put this tactfully? – ah, b*lls to it – fetish gear.

Y’see, the thing about Chams is that while it’s a transgender support group, pretty much everyone (unless they turn up in bloke mode) makes the effort to look female. I don’t mean twin set and pearls. No, clothes range from casual, office, goth, glamorous, punk(y) to bang on-trend. However, the link between any of those looks is that the wearer has tried to present a female appearance.

This, I feel, leads us into the crux of the problem. If you turn up very early, the previous groups – kids plus parents – may still be about. From a distance, the kids may see a couple of tall or perhaps rather shoulder heavy ladies heading into one of the side doors. It’s another thing to see a bloke in a too-short maid’s outfit in loafers and a pair of stockings. No wig, no make-up. You get the picture.

Daphne and I had a quiet word with the person in question because – and I’ll be honest here – we (the group) do not feel this is what the group is about. Now, I feel a bit bad about telling this chap that he can’t dress like that at Chams, but…. would I want a group of burly guys in maids’ outfits turning up? No. Would I want the group to have to move on because we’ve overstepped the boundaries and upset the other tenants? Again, no. Man, I hate being a clothing fascist. 🙂

I guess this flip side to this is would I go to a fetish nightclub dressed in either jeans + t-shirt or a wrap dress and stillies? No, not really. 🙂

[ Today’s lyric: Fight for your right to party by the Beastie Boys ]


  1. It’s always kinda tough to be the “law enforcer.” Even though Chams doesn’t operate a dress policy per se, there is always a boundary where common decency ends, and a certain “standard” has to be upheld. How did the person in question react?

    I agree with your theory and it’s really a case of horses for courses I reckon. You have to dress appropriately for the venue.

  2. Making a judgement “about” someone else is never a comfortable position to be in. If you are a thinking person, with sensitivity to the needs of others,t is fraught with nagging uncertainties the moment it becomes “necessary”. Those mini dilemnas become compounded when the needs of an entire social group have to be taken into account as well.
    I don’t presume to know other peoples purposes out of hand. But it does seem at times that I “have to” view another person’s pupose as being clearly apparent from the appearance of purpose they chose to present. That appearance is more their responsibility to clarify than it is mine.
    There is really only one social TG group here in SA. Before you can attend a meeting, you have to meet with one of the officiating members (being “dressed” for the meeting is optional, and it is held in a public place). At the screening I attended,the various expectations for member conduct while attending were explained. Most were common sense, and largely to protect everyone’s interests.
    It still would not stop a determined effort to act at cross purposes when attending a group function, but it works to keep the responsibility for such efforts where it belongs.
    I think you had a hard choice to make Lynn, and I think you made it correctly. However unfair it may be, ALL of our conduct is usually judged by the extremes we accept through inclusion. A group is no longer about the individual first. Its a pity that some people don’t easily understand this.

  3. Firstly, thanks to both of you for your support!

    Maddie > It wasn’t fun although it had to be done. Luckily, it wasn’t just me being ‘teach’. Daphne and I had the duty between us. The person in question took it quite well. If they’ll be back or not, I don’t know. To be honest with you, I think they’re looking for a different scene to what goes on at Chams. Really, it’s all a lot of chat, tea and biscuits. WI for men! 🙂 Bring on the jam!! 😀

    Emma > I don’t like to judge people because I don’t like to be judged. While I felt it was for the best, I couldn’t felt but feel for the poor person! Perhaps better to have a quiet word and set the record straight than have people freaked out and give them the cold shoulder.

    A screening system is both good and bad. It’s good in that you – the existing folk – get to know who is coming along and they get to know what to expect. I think for the most part, the group’s core do that via email. The downside to screening is that it may be too much for people just out of the closet and it may come across as a bit cliquey… which I’m sure is not the intention.

  4. I think you missed your true calling Lynn. You’d make a wonderful mediator! Your ability to find the intersection of interests from alternate perspectives is an admirable trait. One I envy.
    I wish I had that ability, to direct it toward myself at times.

    I’m really terrible at the whole group thing in general. I’ve done it several times (I’ve even initiated one). Seems I can find a place to fit in anyyone, but myself, in the end.:-(

  5. Hi Lynn

    Sounds like you and Daphne handled what could have been a difficult situation sensitively and with a lot of thought. I know from the phone call with annelouise what happened, and believe we really do need to formalise a dress code given this has now happened on a couple of occastions.

    Its not about chams being prudish, but we have over the last 2 years built up a relationship with the other groups and the council, which I wouldnt like to jeapodise.

    Ive resurrected the dress code thread on Notchams forum, for an open discussion, which can be continued at the next meeting.

    take care and see you soon.



  6. Emma > It didn’t feel like that at the time! 🙂 But thanks for your kind words.

    The group thing can be tricky. To fit in, to be oneself, to sit back or take centre stage? Choices, choices.

    Mmm…. true calling. There’s a thought a for post. Taa!

    S > I hope you had a happy holiday. Daph grasped the nettle initally – as it where – and I was glad to hear that everyone was in the loop before we had a quiet word.

    I think you’re right about the dress code thread. Let’s see what the other people have to say and take it from there.

  7. Hit a local “western shop” yesterday to pick up some new bibs for work and thought of all the fun you could have there…


Leave a Reply to alan Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.