Interview With Lynn Jones
1.How do you describe yourself, (crossdresser, transvestite, trans gender) ?
I do struggle a bit with labels. Partly because the definition of them shifts and language seems to be evolving. I usually say I'm Trans because I'm somewhere on that spectrum. The concept of being bigender seems to fit reasonably well. Whatever label applied, my nature doesn't switch off when I put on a shirt or dress: I'm always me, a mix of male and female. Perhaps that's true for more of us than we realise.
2. How long have you been crossdressing?
I remember my first time was in late primary school. I saw a pair of tights fresh in the laundry pile and I wondered what they felt like. I mean, why don't boys wear these? So began the journey...:-) I couldn't tell you my age, but I've been dressing on and off when I had the opportunity. It just seemed right. That this was part of me, even if I didn't know that back then.
3. Acceptance was for me, the turning point, once I had accepted who I was my life changed. What about you? When did acceptance come to you, how did it change your life and outlook regarding crossdressing?
Acceptance didn't come until my mid 30s. I would mostly be okay about it, but there was certainly a pendulum effect going on between guilt and tolerance.
The acceptance was - to use a line from a film, a moment of clarity - when I was getting changed upstairs at a local Trans social and support group. I was brushing my wig and somehow, I felt, well, "this is okay. This is my normal." It was as if someone had turned down the heat somehow.
4. Have you ever considered transition? Would you consider it in the future?
I had an unpleasant run in with depression about a decade ago and either because of that or because I was looking for a root cause, I did stare down that path. I had some inkling of the route given two good friends had gone that way, but when I listened to them and looked at my needs, our journeys were not the same. So, I'm okay as I am and I've no plans to change.
5. You seem very confident when dressed, but how do you really feel?
Do I? I've not really thought of it to be honest. You just have to do what you do to get on and get out. :-)
If the outfit I'm in is working for me, then that helps my confidence. Maybe there's some truth in the 'fake it til you make it' and 'look good, feel good' approach.
I usually have two outfits in mind when I'm thinking of going out and in honesty, I do deliberate over my choice. It's not unknown for me to pack three choices for a night out as I can't always make up my mind.
6. I know you get out and about, tell us where you like to go, what you like to do? (No specific locations)
I guess you could break my outings up in to two categories: my regular Thursday nights out to Nottingham Chameleons (our local Trans social and support group), or the rarer Out & About forays into public.
Chams is great because I get to catch up with friends and it's a regular thing. It's easy logistically too and low impact on family life. I guess it's a bit like going to the pub and not drinking :-)
For the Out & About stuff, that tends to be Leicester as it's not my home town nor too far away either. That's for shopping as it's easier to try things on or buy makeup when you're not in bloke mode.
7. How do you feel when you've been out?
Thursdays help make me feel okay again. It's like the pressure valve has turned down to just a background level. Actual days out are a mix of feeling okay about myself and a touch of guilt if I've bought much.
8. Do you have a favourite outfit? Describe it and explain why you like it so much.
Oh, this is a tough one! I have a number of favourites. There's a monochrome flower pattern dress that people always say nice things about, there's a cami + tunic number that make me feel like mum popping in to the shops, and a beautiful black and red rose dress too.
But, in terms of a favourite, I'd have to say it's an office look number that made me feel special. A red skirt, white vest with a green wrap short sleeve cardigan, and nude pumps. I wore it to a training event I ran for a community group and I felt very professional.
9. Us girls love heels; do you have a favourite pair?
If being T has taught me one thing, a good pair of shoes can make an outfit or break an evening ;-) I love Mary Jane style heels as they are easier to walk in and are usually fairly comfortable. I've a black pair with studs on the black that I've had years. Certainly my dancing shoes!
10. What are your thoughts on ‘Passing'?
I used to care, but as the years have rolled on, I think it's a myth and a stick many of us beat ourselves with. I know I spent enough time riding that bus to nowhere. :-) I think it may be better to just look as good as you can with what you have and know that it's not a competition. If I look to female friends and colleagues, there's so many ways to be a woman. Plus to reduce life to pass or fail, that's incredibly harsh, so I don't think passing should be important.
11. Have you ever 'Purged' if so how did you feel after?
I did once, in my twenties. I'd left home and I had just a few items. Due to a bad experience in being outted and lacking confidence, I thought I'd go straight. Well, that went well didn't it ;-) I've not had a chuck out since then and if anyone is thinking about doing so, please, just box it all up and see how you feel in a year. You can't 'unpurge' but you can recycle and regift later on.
12. Would you like to live full time as a woman?
I'm a bloke: also a husband and a parent. To go full time isn't an option for me and to be honest, I'm not sure I could be bothered with the shaving, makeup, and also the everyday crap women have to put up with. I had a small glimpse of that while out and it was eye-opening and it drove things home for me.
In an ideal or hypothetical world, maybe I'd like to have the choice: to sometimes turn up to work or family things in Lynn mode.
13. Can you ever stop?
Tried that, made me miserable, so no. :-) This is part of me and denying oneself is not a wise route in my experience. Better to accept and do the best you can with who you are.
14. Have you or would you use a 'dressing/makeup' service?
No, I've not tried one. I did look in my teens but all of them were a long way away and very expensive. By the time I might have had the money, I wasn't interested having bumbled my way through learning about makeup and clothes.
I know a few folk who have and also listened to makeup artists who help. I think there's a difference between makeup help and dressing services. I think the former are there to help you learn.
15. Who knows about your crossdressing?
My amazing wife, my sister, two people at work, and everyone at Chameleons. The last group shouldn't be a surprise.
16. If you could have one wish, what would it be?
That people are more understanding and empathetic. If so, maybe we'd have less conflict and drama. A girl can dream, right?
17. Where do you see your life going from here?
With the exception of the impact of COVID19, I would say mostly as it has done for the last decade or so. :-) I think a careful balance of being Out & About, with that of my family (both kids are teen/tween), and work. I would like to work from home a little more after the pandemic. I find less travel helps with the work/life balance, I actually get more done, and I can fit in a little Lynn time too. A win all round.
18. You help run a support group, can you tell us a bit about it?
The group is Nottingham Chameleons and it's been going since the 80s. There's a small team of us who help organise things to keep it running smoothly. We meet twice a month in a community centre just outside Nottingham. Most of our number are 40s/50s and up, with a few folk older/younger to balance things out. It's a great place to find your feet, meet others like you, and maybe reach that all important self acceptance. We also do training events for organisations which gets us in the real world. I find it really rewarding and it's a great group.
Thank you very much Lynn for taking the trouble to answer my questions.
The photo was supplied by Lynn and remains her copyright.
Lynn runs a great blog: www.yatgb.co.uk