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Top Tranny Tips: Starting Out
We've lost count of how many times we've received e-mails along the lines of "I'm a T*Girl but I've never left the house. Where do I go to take my first steps?" So it struck us it might be a good idea to lay out some of the answers here on the Trans-MISSION web-site and point people in this direction first to see if it answers any of their questions! Obviously the venues and groups given here are based in the UK but the principles apply anywhere in the world from Sydney to Stockholm!

How you take those first cautious steps 'out of the tranny closet' depends largely on how far progressed you are with your cross-dressing. For the sake of painting a picture, we've defined three categories:
  1. The Wannabe You have no clothes, wigs, make-up or anything else, just a burning desire to dress as a woman.
  2. The Beginner You have the basics (clothes, a wig, shoes) but not much practice at putting the whole thing together.
  3. The First Timer You have everything you need and are even practised at make-up but need the confidence to step out into the wide transvestite world.
There are, of course, all manner of shades and colours between, below and above these three examples, but it's those girls that fall into these categories who seem to need the most coercing, assistance and help.

The Wannabe

WannabeI guess this is where many of us started out so this is familiar territory! If this is you, you really have 2 options:
  1. Go out and buy everything you will need, a wig, shoes, clothes, make-up (and lessons in how to use it), underwear, breast-forms (although you can stuff your bra with socks initially - as many of us did!) and all those other tranny essentials; or
  2. Go to a reputable dressing or escorting service.
The advantage of (1) is that once you have everything you need, you will be able to go out as often as you like, however there are some major downsides to this option. Firstly it takes a lot of patience, and time, to gather everything and get sufficiently profficient with make-up to feel comfortable enough to go out. Also, believe it or not, this is probably more expensive than (2) not least because you will end up getting numerous items of clothes and pairs of shoes that don't fit or otherwise don't work for you before you settle on an outfit you actually like. As for make-up, this can take years and years of practise to get right without someone to give you a helping hand.

What is a dressing service? If you're not familiar with tranny terminology, you may not know what a dressing service actually is. Here's our definition:
A dressing service is an individual or a company which provides services to help you with your transformation into a woman, whether this is a complete make-over or just additional help with make-up. Dressing is actually a shortened term for 'cross-dressing', rather than being short for 'dressing up'. As far as we know there are no 'undressing services', though we're sure there are plenty of people willing to do this bit for free!
Escorting is nothing to do with the usual understanding of 'escorts' (and we don't mean those made by Ford)! In the dressing service world it refers to someone (usually another t*girl) who will take you on a tranny night-out, show you the ropes and the venues and generally help you overcome those nerves. More of a chaperone than an escort really.
Jodie LynnFor a night out with a dressing or escorting service, expect to pay upwards of UK£300 including a hotel and transport. This might sound a lot but compared to the cost of putting a whole outfit together it isn't really. A wig could easily cost UK£100 on its own, shoes UK£50, clothes another UK£100 and you're soon spending more than the dressing service would cost you. OK, so at the end of the night you have to give it all back, but you will have taken those important first steps, and done it looking great and feeling confident about how you are looking too.

Can we recommend any dressing services? Yes! If you want a night out at a good tranny club or at the theater or to go for a meal, you can get no better than Jodie Lynn at The Boudour, Josie at Adam and Eve or Julia at TV AMC. These girls will put you right at ease and chances are you'll end up on a night out with loads of other fun t*girls too. They can also offer a make-over and photography service so if you would rather take home some quality pictures of you all frocked up then they can do this as well. There are lot of other dressing services and links to trustworthy ones as well as to clubs and support groups on our links pages.

With a dressing service, all you need to do is turn up well shaven (how far you go with this is up to you) and if you have any special items you want to use (shoes, wigs, jewellery etc) you can bring them along but this is not essential as most decent dressing services will be able to provide the whole package. Expect to spend about an hour in make-up and another hour choosing an outfit (with expert advice) and then, after a cup of tea (or something stronger) to be taken to visit one or more tranny friendly venues with a group of other girls. At the end of the night you can either return to the dressing service HQ and take it all off, or book a hotel wherever you happen to be, go back there and change back to your normal self, and then drop the clothes and wigs back either then and there or first thing the next day.

The Beginner

Tranny BeginnerThis is a situation that a lot of girlz (grrls and other tranny abbreviations) find themselves in. They've been dressing at home for a while, playing with make-up and buying lots of clothes, and want to go out and strut their stuff. But they worry that their skills aren't good enough and that this will leave them feeling bad about how they look or that people will poke fun at them.

Firstly - unless you happen across a real bitch (and there are the odd few around, 'odd' being the operative word) - other transvestites are almost universally welcoming to newcomers. We all started somewhere and you will find that other girls are more than willing to befriend you and lend a few words of advice to help you along your way. Don't, however, expect to receive a free make-over from girls enjoying a night-out with their friends; they are there to have fun, not to give lessons on the application of eyeliner, blusher, mascara and so on! Chatting with them about such items, as well as the oft enlightened tranny discussion of shoes, lingerie and fashion, will often, however, yield a wealth of experience about what works, what doesn't, what looks tarty, what looks classy, who is doing what to who, how, Doctor Who and Star Trek.

beaumont societyIf you think you are in the 'beginner' category, we would recommend going along to one of the friendly social groups who meet all around the country, to chat with other girls in a non-threatening environment. A list of local groups can be found on the Beaumont Society web-site (though having attended a few of the society's own social events, some of the trannies who were attending looked more like the two 'housewives' in the Bounty kitchen roll advert than the glamorous vixens more usually associated with the wider transgender scene). A hot transgender night-club such as the WayOut probably isn't for you yet as it's not such an easy-going atmosphere. What's needed is somewhere that there will be lots of other girls around all chatting over a drink, instead of in a club setting where people often keep their chat within their existing social circles (their existing social 'cliques'?) Again there are links to some groups on our links pages, though there are many more groups than we could ever do justice to and they come and go with alarming frequency making keeping track of them a difficult job - we try our best for you. Joining an internet community such as the UK Angels or Rose's will help you to find out where your local group is - most sizeable towns have one and many cities have more than one. Most meet monthly, though some are more regular and some even arrange special events (days out, trips to night clubs and so on).

The First Timer

Alison SmithThis is all a matter of confidence... What do you expect to happen when they step out in public? Will a hoard of transphobic tranny-bashers hunt you down and beat you up? Will everyone laugh at you? Will you be a source of ridicule? The answer to all these questions is NO (usually!) Most people encountering a tranny in public do not even do a double-take. They see a girl, and their brain satisfied, they continue about their business. Some people do look twice but in a way that's a compliment: it means they weren't quite sure you were a girl. Think about it, they're not looking because they spotted that you were some wierdo guy in a dress, just that as a girl, something didn't quite add up!

There's also the issue of leaving the house with the possibility of your neighbours (and depending on your social circumstances, your family) seeing you and working out that it's 'Jim from next-door' and then your secret is out. This is more difficult and is why, like Vampires, many t*girls only appear after dark.

So you've made it out of the front door and into your car (or a taxi), where should you go? Well if you're in London, a club like the now defunkt Trans-MISSION would have been ideal. In fact when Jasmine and Vicky established Trans-MISSION we did so specifically with the intention of making it somewhere first-timers could go and feel relaxed. Another place you could go is a gay bar. Generally speaking gays are accepting (if not wholly understanding - but then who is) of trannies and if you just want to go somewhere for a drink to break that first-time barrier, a local gay pub or bar can be great, non-threatening fun.

Nike - Just do itOur biggest piece of advice would be to make like the old Nike slogan and 'JUST DO IT'. Bottle up whatever nerves you feel and put a cork in that bottle. Wrap the bottle in an old t-shirt, then put it at the back of your closet. Step out with pride, hold your head up high, and go for it. Be confident, even if you don't feel it, as it's our body language that betrays us most. Look happy and people will just smile and walk on. Look nervous and people will want to understand why. Once you have taken those first steps and gone out to a club or bar you will NEVER look back. It's an exhilarating experience and you will want to do it again, and again, and again. And again! (And again.)
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