When I began my transition about 7 years ago I had not long since returned to tap dancing as a social pastime. (The last time had been as a school age child). I had joined an amateur cabaret/show group just for the fun of it. The group was in dire need of a guy who could tap to play the part of Geoffery in a production of 'Stepping Out'. If any of you know the play or have seen the film you will know that Geoffery is very much the 'odd one out' in a tap class of women. He is always made to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. There is a famous line in which the '3 T's ' are referred to (Tits, Teeth and Tonsils) and it is pointed out that Geoffery only has 2 of the three. I didn't escape sex by joining this group, it hovers like a background curtain behind much of what a show group does.
I thought that I would bow out of things once I began transitioning but the welcome to stay on which I got from the rest of the girls meant that I didn't leave. I knew that I wouldn't find it easy though. I seem to have spent my whole life acting a part in real life, pretending to be the guy that I wasn't. When you finally get to be yourself and a woman, it's confusing to try and be something else yet again on stage. As a result I spent a year on the sidelines playing guitar in the onstage band and watching enviously while everyone else danced. I felt left out big time :(
The following production involved cameos from 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas', perhaps not the best time to get back into dancing with the group given what I've just said. I'm not a CD OR TV so I don't know whether this would have been a dream come true or not; full satin skirts, petticoats, revealing tops, false lashes and Cuban heels. It was only when I realized that most of the other girls felt just as exposed as I did but enjoyed the thrill of doing it that I finally began to enjoy acting a part and providing entertainment. I was lucky. I didn't provide the sort of entertainment I had feared. Nobody said 'who the heck is that guy up there dressed as a woman?' I passed. I never imagined when I began my transition having to 'pass' in front of the audience whilst dressed as a hooker'!
Last week I took the opportunity of a forced trip to London to go and see Chicago at the Garrick. The production is full of sex, sleaze, lying and corruption as well as great Bob Fosse style choreography. But it was nice to be in the audience for a change and be entertained. It also helped create the illusion that I was on holiday. It was the night of Valentine's Day and London was full of couples and people in evening clothes clutching bouquets or red roses. I remember walking through Trafalgar Square after the show and seeing too long haired guys in an intensely red Rolls Royce gawping at a lesbian couple kissing in the back of a rickshaw.
The following morning however saw me in Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith. This was my second visit to the Charing X GIC. Seems I couldn't escape references to sex there either as I seemed to spend half my appointment either discussing how it affected me or had done in the past. Might it be possible for me to get on with my life as a woman without having to discuss sex with complete strangers all the time? (I nearly wrote 'strange men'!) There was a silver lining. It seems that my testosterone and oestradiol levels are now where they should be for a female. It's left me feeling so much better and more well adjusted than I've felt for years. As far as the Psychiatrists are concerned they're now happy to refer me for surgery, that's such a relief. There is still the small problem of waiting lists to see a consultant and the issue of NHS Wales actually paying! My Psychotherapist says that this is a formality, I certainly hope so.