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Hi,

The other week an email arrived in the Chameleons inbox. It wasn’t from a trans person, someone related to some who’s trans, nor a training enquiry. It was from someone who identified as an Admirer. For those who’ve not heard the term before, in general, Admirers are usually men and they like transgender people: generally male to female, but it can be the other way around too.

The guy was respectful and it’s probably the second email that the group’s received since I’ve been handling the inbox. I don’t know if Admirer folk are quite rare, or that they get the vibe – correctly – that Chams is a social & support group for trans people and their family. It doesn’t matter if you identify as a cross-dresser, genderfluid, someone who’s part-time, bi-gender, or someone going to (or it) full time. So long as you’re trans – or related to someone who is – we’re very welcoming…. to a point 🙂

That point is that the group is a safe place. We may have even been a safe space well before I’d heard of the term, but it still stands 🙂 There are a few things new and would-be attendees want to know: who’ll be at the group, what goes on, and will I be safe? The latter is a key theme that runs through all the emails, newsgroup posts, etc.

Much as Admirers may be a minority and I think it would be rude – and somewhat rich – to judge them for their likes, I think their needs and the needs of the group aren’t compatible. It’s not so much the person, as the behaviour and the reasons they want to attend. Phrases like ‘to make contact’ don’t help. I made it clear that he couldn’t come along, but that there may be places in town (some of the LGBTQ+ bars) or web sites (URNotAlone or TVChix), that may be more suitable.

Plus, I’ve seen men in more mainstream life not leaving women alone or treating them disrespectfully. Maybe staring or commenting when they think they’re out of earshot. Frankly, it’s that behaviour that’s a bit grim, and I don’t want to invite men into the group if that’s a possibility. All of that’s before you get into horror stories from fellow T people. You know the sort: the guy who doesn’t pick up on I’m not interested or I’m not into guys kinda thing, to blokes who are *ahem* a little too touchy-feelie.

So, here’s my question, for guys who have an interest in, well, people like us, where do they go? Are there groups for them too, where they talk about their feelings and try to understand? From what little I’ve read online, it seems the get a difficult hand. We’re not interested, they’re not fully understood by their peers (straight or gay), and with pervy blokes giving them a rep, how do they feel about that?

__________________

In other news, I’ve struggled a bit with the new fashions out this autumn. I don’t know if it’s me or them, but not much is making me want to invest. I’ve even cleared my cupboards out of things I no longer wear, and with last month’s birthday money, I’ve a few quid to invest. But, maybe it’s a little too early for retailers to get into their stride, and we’re not yet at Halloween or the run-up to Christmas glamour.

Still, the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones also had a chuck-out, so I decided to try a skirt she no longer wanted, and having had some time ‘working from home’ this week, I washed and tried to restyle the wig that Steph (TrendCo) recut for me all those months ago.

Oh, Mrs J also mentioned Snag Tights to me, and they do a variety of sizes and fits: tall, plus-size, and various fab colours. I’m hoping to try those on and post a quick review here. There’s also some shoe-stretchers I bought from Amazon, and they’re currently in use on the nude courts I bought in the summer.

Sizing, it’s a bit of a risk. The skirt in the picture is a 16 and while it’s not roomy, it’s not the wrong side of tight. Well, not unless I visit Ye Olde Pie Shoppe too many times 😉 Compare that to a lovely pencil skirt (size 16) I picked up in a local charity shop and that was not going to go on. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m more 17 than 16. 🙂  Ah well, all part of the learning curve and what doesn’t fit can be added to the Bring & Buy box for Chameleons next month.

Take care,
Lynn

21 Comments

  1. We had an email addressed to our group several years ago. My friend, Sharon, and I agreed to meet this individual, in male attire, at a restaurant. Based on the email, we didn't know just what he was. We thought he was trans, but we decided to meet him as a way of screening him prior to letting him attend one of our events. Well, he was an admirer and what he wanted we could not and did not want give him. I really was scared to death. It was the first time I really felt what cis-women feel when a man comes on too strong to them. Fortunately, Sharon did all the talking and handled it well. I just sat there like a deer in the headlights. Obviously, this is the last time we ever saw the guy.

    Calie xx

    1. Thanks for sharing, Calie, and FWIW, I'm sorry you had to experience that. Good to hear that your friend Sharon handled it. That brief insight into what women have to go through its indeed shocking.

      A good T friend of mine was groped, and it reduced her to tears, bless her. Thankfully the barkeep stepped in and banned the perpetrator.

      We did have a gentleman attend many years back. He wasn't clear about his intentions and he didn't give us any trouble on the night. The next day he emailed asking for something I won't repeat in polite company and I, umm, read him the riot act 😉

      Conversely, there was an older gent at a public T night out and he was nothing but polite from what I saw.

  2. It can be cis women who are admirers, and they can be trouble for trans women, as well. Years ago, when I regularly attended meetings and events with the local trans social group, there was a woman admirer who was allowed to attend – although not because I condoned it. She became pregnant with her third child by one of the group members, and it was rumored that her other two children had trans women for fathers, as well.

    This group has been around for years, and had developed a rather predictable pattern of patronizing one particular venue after the monthly first-Thursday meetings. There was always at least one male admirer at the venue, but often more, on those particular nights. When the group had to change their meeting place to another part of town (after I stopped attending the meetings), they no longer frequented this club, but I continued because of the music – even with my own band playing there on a couple of occasions. Admirers would still show up, though, expecting to find trans women there. I can tell you that it's definitely not a good situation when you are the only trans woman in a bar with male admirers. Putting oneself on display (or so I've come to believe that an admirer considers a trans woman singing on a stage to be doing) only makes matters worse. I also learned that other people may not be quite so quick to come to the aid of a trans woman being harassed by a man as they would for a cis woman. I don't know if it's because others might think that the man in us is capable of handling such a situation, or even the thought that dressing up like that is just asking for it. At any rate, we, as trans women, need to be even more vigilant than cis women in order to be safe. That's my experience, anyway.

    1. Yes, women too, as you point out, Connie. Looking back, I remember now.

      FWIW, I don't think anyone is 'asking for it' regardless of how they are dressed. But, I think we both know that not everyone subscribes to that idea, and that's what puts people in danger.

      Until everyone plays there part in helping everyone stay safe, I guess we're going to have to be on our guard. Maybe we can all do our bit in helping others tho.

    2. One might think that other trans women would always help one of their own, but I had one experience that proved to be otherwise. There were three of us sitting at a table in a bar/restaurant that was frequented by many gay men. I enjoyed going there because they had a fantastic piano player who would accompany singers, and I love to sing. Anyway, after I had sung a couple of songs, I rejoined my friends at the table, only to be approached from behind by a rather large drag queen. He (I am using the masculine pronoun because his behavior was totally male) began hitting on me and escalating his advances to grinding and then groping. My "friends" just sat across the table and giggled during it all, and then laughed out loud after I had finally made the queen give up. I wanted to leave right then, but I decided it would be safer to wait until the offender had long-left the premises. In the meantime, I made it clear to the other two that their behavior was not cool, to say the least. Yes, we do need to be more aware and to do our bit in helping others!

    3. Wow, that must have been really difficult, Connie. Did your friends change their behaviour afterwards?

      I remember attending a Ally Programme, and the organisers spoke about being active in challenging such things. I think there's a line between being a bystander and a busybody (sticking your nose into other people's business). But, as you say, we need to be there for each other – regardless of who we are, man, woman, or other – to stop bad behaviour and protect our own.

    4. Honestly, I was so upset at the time, and I don't remember if either one of them even apologized. It happened about ten years ago, and I had been out about a year at the time. It was one of my Me Too moments that I would look back to, in relating to so many other women when the Me Too movement started. I would hope that people would be more apt to speak up these days, but I am still much more aware and proactive in keeping myself from being put into situations where bad things may happen. That, and I'm now a 68-year-old lady, so maybe I'm not so appealing anymore?

      I was also sucker-punched while coming to the aid of some young ladies who were being harassed by a drunk man one night, a few years ago. I didn't reciprocate, physically, but I don't think I've ever been so mad in my life. I let loose on him, verbally, though, and at least it gave the women a chance to get far away from the creep. There are so many times I become aware that I'm turning into my mother, but I think I must have been fully channeling her at that time! Anyway, it's a reminder that we also need to be careful for our own safety when speaking up.

    5. It can be tough when we feel that our friends don't have our backs. I'm so with you on personal safety: not just avoiding dangerous situations, but knowing how to get out of them too.

      The MeToo thing is both upsetting and enlightening at the same time. I remember being touched inappropriately (luckily only on the leg) and I was really thrown by it. It was, well, "Really? Wait, this is happening. Hey,get off me, right now!". That was also a long time ago, but that experience stuck with me. That and feeling unsafe when walking home from a night out. Again, eye opening experiences.

      If it Is anything like what some women have to put up with – and they have this BS to deal with all the time – it's not on. All I can do is challenge that behaviour when I see it, teach my son to not do that, and raise my daughter so she knows she should not allow it.

    6. I don't mean to monopolize your blog, Lynn, but this issue really does hit home for me. Maybe my shyness has been perceived as coyness by a number of men, I don't know. I have never intentionally given out signals that I'm interested in any man; not in my demeanor, nor in my presentation. Nevertheless, I have had more than my share of incidents with men that have left me uncomfortable, at the least, or outraged, as I described above. I don't believe that I pass well enough to expect that any of them have not been initiated by men who think I am a cis woman. I do think that men who are attracted to trans women are conflating gender and sex, and, in my experience, it has been more difficult to explain the differences to gay men than anyone else – including my wife! In my case, I can say that I have no sexual interest at all in men, and I have learned that it's best to just let that be known at the first sign of advancement. In fact, the last time it happened, I told the guy that I have never really been happy with the penis I was born with, and I'm even less interested in yours – I'm not a gay man. I've never found that telling one of these men that I have been married for (now) 47 years to be a deterrent, though, so I don't even bother with telling them. For whomever is an admirer of trans women, it's all about sex, and convention is of no concern to them.

      I did want to add a cautionary point. For those trans women who may have yet to experience a man's advancements, don't let the flattery fool you. It can seem so affirming to your female-self, but don't let that be cause for escalation. Unless you actually do want things to go further, sexually, it is better to be clear that it's a big NO! The earlier, the better, too.

    7. It's okay, Connie. Just keep in mind this is public, so please, only share things you are okay with being in the open.

      As to the marriage situation, I would say that for some people – particularly those not wanting a relationship, just an *ahem* encounter – then that is indeed no barrier.

      I've heard from some newly out T people that the attention was indeed flattering and affirming. However, and as you say, it's a dangerous road and some people are predatory, so always be very careful.

  3. I don't know about support groups, but I know there are some t-friendly venues that encourage well-behaved Admirers. The Wayout Club in London even has a page on their site with advice for Admirers on how to respectfully approach crossdressers and transwomen (and how to behave when turned down!)

    1. You mean, Pandora, that they are offering a girl a way out? There have been times when I could have used a way out club for defense! 🙂 (You'd think my bad puns would be enough to give cause for a man to leave me alone)

  4. Oh, Lynn, I keep forgetting to tell you that the skirt looks great on you – not too tight at all. And, since I've found myself to be in a punny mood, I have to say that sizing, for me, is based more on my lack of curves than a learning curve. 🙂

  5. Hi Lynn, admirers can be a problem, on a couple of occasions a couple have attended Pink Punters, and although they, as far as I know didn't cause any trouble, they do seem reluctant to move on even when you have made it clear your not interested. One decided too sit with a group of girls and just began talking to them, even though they showed little interest in what he was saying he wouldn't give up, so the girls all moved somewhere else! I had one constantly staring at me, it was a very creepy feeling, and he didn't make any attempt to talk to me! So it can be a problem, but you have to keep on your guard and avoid them if possible.

    1. I hope that event didn't spoil your or your friends' evening out. I'm no expert on psychology, so how did Mr Thousand Yard Stare do for meeting new people? 😉 What makes a person think that's a good ice braking technique? Was he trying to mesmerize you?

      I was going to say I've not had such trouble, luckily. Maybe it's a height thing or the Teacher's Look (thanks Mum)? That or I'm just not their type! 🙂

    2. It did't spoil my evening but for a short while made me feel a little uncomfortable. I later saw him in the club, he seemed to have latched on to a group of girls, I don't know how happy they were with his company! I have no idea why he chose the stare technique, perhaps he thought I would fall under his charms of his piecing eyes – it did't work!

      It wasn't a big thing really but it does make me realise what girls go through all the time, who'd have though putting on a dress would make me suddenly vulnerable!

    3. One of the things about being a part timer, or at least, in my experience, is the occasional glimpse into what it's like to be vulnerable. The way your shoes announce you coming, your belongings held in a bag on your shoulder, and – as you mention here – to be in the sights of someone who has you as a target.

      It is but a moment, but a powerful lesson in what some go through every day. Perhaps if others experienced that, that would not be so quick to judge questions around safety, self-censoring over clothing, MeToo, or ReclaimTheNight.

      Maybe the best we part time folk can do is be active allies: to challenge and push back against behaviours that we have felt and that made us uncomfortable.

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