This is an ongoing series of articles about shopping experiences.
If you have never shopped in a Lane Bryant store (one of my personal favorites), then follow Aleigha as she shops at her LB store
I knew from an early age that this Adam and Eve thing isn’t really working for me. I mean, what about all the kinds of people in between?
This is an ongoing series of articles about shopping experiences.
If you have never shopped in a Lane Bryant store (one of my personal favorites), then follow Aleigha as she shops at her LB store
Section I will focus on what is crossdressing and why do we crossdress. That is followed by some recent statistics about the LGBT community from a Williams Institute study and specifically those that identify as transgender. The section ends with a survey from Laura’s Place dating back to 1999 but still considered valid today on the demographics of a crossdresser. I think you will find it interesting.
Let’s begin with a A Raw Glimpse Into The Emotional Lives Of Transgender Women. This film was shot at the Espirit conference in Port Angeles, WA and tells the story of the conflicted women that we are
Then this recently published video from Rachel Rollins on the Crossdresser’s Ten Commandments brings together the many issues of coming out to our wives which are also discussed in our post on The Wives Speak Out
Then Juliette Noir, a British girl, has a great video about how she discussed Juliette with her closest family members and a how she dealt with these difficult situations.
Then we turn to a more general view on the subject with these offerings:
Theories on Crossdressing and Transgender Issues, author unknown
Crossdressing and transgenderism is generally associated with gender dysphoria but not all transgender people have dysphoria – and here are 6 reasons why that matters. It’s important to understand that we can live normal lives and still be both male and female with transitioning. This is essential to our knowledge of who we are.
An Intellectual View of Crossdressing by Vivienne Marcus, a most interesting and pointed view of crossdressing by a New Zealander who has an unusual ability to make sense of what we do.
My Life As A Girl by Stephan Burt, a Harvard professor, is one of the best essays I’ve read on being a crossdresser when he says, “I’m a man, but I like dressing up as a woman, in women’s clothes, wearing lipstick and bracelets and bright rings and women’s shoes” No pretensions. Just the fun of dressing and looking and feeling feminine.
Just a Crossdresser, by Miqqi Alicia Gilbert, PHD. We are not always taken seriously by the LGBT community and Mikki explains why.
And Juliette Noir again with What is the most common misconception of CD/TG people?
True life stories of transvestites (crossdressers) and their wives in this UK film brings home the realities of who were are and what we do….not to be missed
Men in Dresses. In 1995 the author and cross-dresser, Dr. Vernon Coleman, made a survey of cross-dressers in the UK. The European Medical Journal Special Monograph On Transvestism/Cross-dressing was based on questionnaires which were completed by 414 British males during July and August 1995 and on written communications from over 600 other British males during the same period. There are 15 questions with extensive commentary by Coleman and responses from cross-dressers. This study differs from the one above at Yvonne’s Place.
Cross-dressers You Should Meet is a growing roll call of crossdressers who are facing the challenges of living the TG lifestyle while maintaining a loving family relationship. Each of these ladies has a similar but still unique story that you can relate to as the CD or the spouse.
Helene Barclay is an interesting woman who self-identifies as a transvestite and obviously loves to dress. She is not only attractive, but thoughtful as well which you can see on her You Tube channel. Helene has done a series of interviews with well known cross-dressers, including our very own V.era Wylde. Helene started her series by interviewing herself and then others in this series of T-Chats. They are well worth watching and perhaps will provide you some insight into your own mystical magical journey.
T-Chat – Helene with Helene
T-Chat with Sarah Rose
T-Chat with Vera Wylde
T-Chat with Cristy Garcia
Section II is a series of You Tube Videos by Vera Wylde and Juliette Noir, Vera is a self-professed crossdresser and drag burlesque performer/model from the New England area. She’s spent a few years tearing up the town in NYC but now she’s settled down in the woods of Vermont with a wife and she’ll never stop being glamorous as hell!
Juliette, a British gal, is a crossdresser that like many of us is comfortable as both male and female and represents the mainstream view on this site.
The first part of the series is in the How To section as it addresses all the elements of how to crossdress. The second part of the series is here and addresses many of the issues that we have as a crossdresser The videos are provided through the courtesy of Vera Wylde and Juliette Noir. Vera is on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and Flickr,
Dear Vera: Giving Up Dressing for a Relationship
Ask Me Anything – What if you were told to stop dressing?
Dear Vera: Nervous Over Being Seen
Juliette’s Ask Me Anything – Aren’t you ever scared of being out in public?
Dear Vera: Full Time Dressing
Dear Vera: Public Confrontation
Dear Vera: Cross Dressing Feelings
Dear Vera: Is Cross Dressing an Addiction?
Dear Vera: When to Come Out
Dear Vera: Finding Acceptance
Dear Vera: Dressing For My Fiance
Dear Vera: Giving Up Dressing for a Relationship
Dear Vera: Finding Platonic Dressing Friends
Dear Vera: Crossdressing Legal Concerns
Dear Vera: Crossdressing and Parenting
Dear Vera: Parenting a Crossdressing Child
Dear Vera: Nervous Over Being Seen
Dear Vera: Public Confrontations
Dear Vera: Do You Make People Uncomfortable?
Petticoat – The classic petticoat, also known as a pettiskirt, comes in a variety of sizes and styles and is worn underneath dresses and skirts to add more fullness, volume, and shape to them. They can be made to be very full, or can only have a hint of volume. They are made out of a variety of materials, including tulle, cotton, nylon, and netting and are a popular choice with 50′s dresses and poodle skirts. Petticoats can be used over the top of hoop skirts to lessen the look of the hoops in the hoop skirt, and to add additional volume to the dress.
Here are a few examples of petticoats and their uses:
Hoop Skirt – Hoop skirts are underskirts that have lightweight hoops to add a bell shape to the dress. The hoops are made out of plastic, nylon, or lightweight steel. A century ago hoop skirts were very heavy and hard for women to wear, but with the lightweight material today, it does not weigh women down anymore.
Hoop skirts are used for large, full, ball gowns. Similar to dresses seen in “Gone With The Wind”, large a-line or ball gowns need underskirts to keep the full shape of their dress. Hoop skirts are usually made out of cotton or polyester. Practice makes perfect with this undergarment, since it can be difficult to move in.
Crinoline – Crinoline is a common word used for undergarment, usually without hoops. While manufacturers love to refer to any undergarment as crinoline, crinoline is usually made out of many layers of tulle or netting. It can be made out of flexible hoop wires to add fullness. They were very popular in the 50’s when they were worn under poodle skirts. You may remember Dick Clark and American Bandstand, the ultimate “sock hop“. Crinolines are most often used to add volume to a ballgown.
The terms crinolines and petticoats are often used interchangeably even though there are differences.
Slip – Slips are usually needed for sheer dresses for modesty. They are not used often today but they are there to stop dresses from tucking in between your legs as you walk around. Slips work best with tighter fitting dresses, or dresses that do not need additional volume. Half slips are probably more common than the full slip and are available in many lengths and really sexy styles.
Full skirts became popular in the early 1800s, when women of all classes wore multiple petticoats and a crinoline to inflate their skirts. The bulky petticoats however often made women very hot, and subjected them to the potential of becoming tangled in their skirts. Starting in the 1840s, crinolines transformed into a staple of women’s fashion with the evolving ways that a woman could shape her skirt. With this shift in the fashion world, super-full and extra-full crinoline skirts emerged as ways for women to express their own sense of style.The development of the crinoline helped to reduce the number of necessary petticoats, and the cage crinoline, introduced in the 1850s, further reduced the number of skirts which needed to be worn.
Metal Cage Crinolines
The emergence of metal cage crinolines gave women the freedom to break away from the six layers of petticoats that was previously concerned a minimum for both fashion and decency standards. One crinoline was sufficient to fit over a metal hoop skirt. While the trend of metal cage crinolines spread across the world, the fashion industry soon determined that more could be done for women’s styles than wearing one simple crinoline over a hoop skirt. Quickly after the debut of metal cage crinolines, super-full and extra-full crinoline skirts gained immense popularity.
Super-Full Crinoline Skirt Backs
In the 1860s, crinoline skirt trends developed with super-full skirts with the fullest area in the back of the skirt. These crinoline created a triangular shape for the skirt itself. The crinolines laid flat over the stomach, hips and waist, and fanned out toward the bottom of the skirt to the hem. These super-full crinolines were predominantly worn until 1863.
Extra-Full Polonaise Crinolines
In the mid-1860s, extra-full crinolines, or the double skirt, became popular as skirts developed into nearly trainlike styles. In addition to the extra extension on the back of the skirt, crinolines of this period were altered from the traditional hoop skirt as the upper rings were removed. The foundations of these crinolines, which were also known as polonaise, were flat in the front with an extra full crinoline in the back. These extra-full crinolines had trains that extended as far back as a few feet.
The crinoline had grown to its maximum dimensions by 1860. However, as the fashionable silhouette never remains the same for long, the huge skirts began to fall from favor. Around 1864, the shape of the crinoline began to change. Rather than being dome-shaped, the front and sides began to contract, leaving volume only at the back. The kind of crinoline that supported this style was sometimes known as a crinolette. The cage structure was still attached around the waist and extended down to the ground, but only extended down the back of the wearer’s legs. The crinolette itself was quickly superseded by the bustle, which was sufficient for supporting the drapery and train at the back of the skirt
Check out Vintage Dancer for a short history of the 1950s petticoat.
After the Victorian era, crinolines fell off the fashion map until their revival in the 1940s and 50s. These crinolines were much shorter and were used to add volume to knee-length skirts popular at the time. Unlike their predecessors, these crinolines did not employ the use of metal bands and were made entirely of fabric or.several layers of stiff net, with flounces to extend the skirt They are usually part of a formal outfit, such as an evening gown or a wedding dress. If there is a hoop in the crinoline, it will probably be made of plastic or nylon, which are low in cost, lightweight and flexible, or steel.
With the recent trend towards lavish weddings and grandiose bridal attire, the crinoline has started making a comeback. They are also most commonly worn by square dance groups and at historical festivals depicting period costumes. The crinoline is very popular today in Germany which holds an annual festival in Wettenberg. The modern petticoat is also popular among older crossdressers who celebrate the styles of the 50s and 60s.
Petticoats now are made in many beautiful styles and colors. Sylvia from the Petticoat Shop in Berlin demonstrates some of those styles. And then Solanah over at the Vixen Vintage is going to show us how to wear the petticoat. Believe me, if you haven’t worn one before, you will want to wear one now. If you have sewing skills and lots of time and patience, you can even try making your own petticoat here. And finally, what better than a French lady, fille de porcelaine, to tell us how to buy, store and wash the best of all your frillies, the petticoat.
There’s nothing more personal than choosing a fragrance or perfume and there’s nothing that sets you apart as a woman quite like the scents that you wear. Whether you have a signature scent or a wardrobe of scents, whether you wear a perfume every day or just for special occasions, the people around you will notice and your choice could set you apart. Smell is our strongest sense (who hasn’t smelt a skunk) so it’s important to understand how perfumes react to our body and how to make smart choices.
The subject of perfume is more complex that you might think. Which scent you choose will depend on your personality, age, skin type and the situation (haven’t we all had that experience smelling a perfume on someone else and thinking it divine, then trying it on ourselves and it smelling not so great). Light florals generally suit younger women, whilst as we age we will want to mature into a more complex scent.
On the technical side, there are different categories of perfumes, and fragrances are different than perfumes. Do you know the difference when we talk about perfume, parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, or eau de cologne, The word fragrance is often used interchangeably with perfume, but they’re not quite the same thing:
Scents are broken down into 4 types at the most basic level (these can of course be subdivided into many more categories!)
And determining the scent strength of the fragrance you are looking for is a very important factor when considering perfumes and colognes:
There are different strengths of perfume:
Some of us like to have a signature scent, whilst others are more keen on developing a scent wardrobe for our different moods and activities (the perfume you wear to seduce is not the one to wear to the office!).
Typically, a fragrance will last six to eight hours. However, that can differ from person to person based on the condition of his/her skin:
PH levels, or amount of acidity in our skin, also vary from person to person. Individual PH levels will determine how each ingredient in a fragrance will react with your body chemistry. That’s why it is so important to find your signature scent.
So here is a recap of this essential information from Justine Leconte, a French lady of some elegance and a fashion designer of considerable repute
Your decision can be based on how long you’d like your fragrance to last, how powerful you want it to be or how inexpensive you’re looking to buy. Never buy a perfume without trying it on for at least 30 minutes – it takes that long for the base notes to become apparent, and this is the lasting scent that you’ll be wafting, you want to ensure that it smells great and you love it!
If you’re trying scents and your nose has become fatigued, just sniff the crook of your elbow (as long as you haven’t got perfume on it) and it will reset your olfactory nerves to start sniffing again!
Department stores are a great place to browse for perfumes–browse, but not purchase! Take your so that you can try them out for a few days. It is important to test perfumes before purchasing because, while a fragrance scent may smell great in the store or on another person, it may not react well with your natural scent or last as long as you would like.
Once you’ve determined which fragrance works best with your body chemistry and is most appealing to you, you can either pay the exorbitant prices at the department store or go home and purchase your designer scent online at a much more reasonable cost. Two reasonably priced online sources for scents are Fragrantica and Scentiments. Oh, and about those little sample fragrances on paper: the paper is missing your chemistry, so you’ll never be able to know whether the fragrance will actually smell great on you.
Another way people often attempt to find their signature scent is buying a perfume scent that they have noticed someone else wearing. Just beware because like an outfit may look great on a friend and not so wonderful on you, a certain scent may not smell the same on you – different body chemistry. Still my mother and my wife, for instance, both love Chanel No 5 and so do I. I’ve received many compliments over the years on its scent. Coco Chanel had a special genius in her scents as well as her clothes. Christian Dior said it well in this picture.
We perhaps can also learn from the celebrities. This infographic on celebrity perfumes from Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamond to Lady Gaga’s Fame can help us decide which scent should go to the top of our starry list.
Accessible and affordable has not been traditionally related to perfume and cologne. However, that has changed. You can now afford to create your own fragrance wardrobe: a collection of perfume or cologne scents to match your lifestyle, events and moods.
Match your scent selection with the time of day, time of year and purpose. Day and summer fragrances should be lighter than evening and winter fragrances. You may have your favorite work fragrances and your very effective dating fragrances. All of these perfume tips are combined with the fact that you have to consider your mood. So many decisions… Isn’t it great that you can have a collection of perfumes or colognes to choose from
One of the secrets of having proper perfume etiquette is learning where to apply the perfume or cologne so it interacts with your body chemistry without disrupting the environment around you. Your fragrance scent should be subtle enough that only people close to you can get a hint. If you make people sneeze, that probably means you applied way too much perfume.
Be very careful when applying perfume or cologne on your clothes. Even though your garments will hold on to your perfume scent, they can also get stained. Also, keep in mind that your piece of clothing does not have the chemicals that come out through your skin to interact with your fragrance; so you’ll smell like the perfume, but not your unique version of it. Sometimes we may want to use a different perfume or cologne and wear an item of clothing that smells differently – that could be a bummer when you have your heart set on wearing a certain outfit
How To Apply Perfume
Many women may be curious as to how to properly apply perfume. For many women, this can be a mystery, but it is often not as difficult as many women may think. For those women that favor a bottle of perfume that has to be applied with the fingers will often find that a little bit of their favorite scent can go a long way. This means that it just takes a mere dab of perfume on the finger to apply it to the skin. It is best for women to only use a small amount of perfume as to not drown out others that may be present with perfume. Keeping the perfume in small amounts and on the pressure points of the upper body will work best.
There are several pressure points that women can use when they are applying their favorite fragrance. Placing the perfume on places such as behind the ears, the wrists and the inside of the elbows are all great pressure points on the body to place perfume. Many women will wear their heavier perfumes in the cold winter months, as they do not smell as heavy or are not too overwhelming. The summer months are better for lighter and airy fragrances, and this will compliment and react well to many women’s pheromones. The young lady in this short video helps explain what we talk about here.
Some of the best ways to keep a scent smelling great is to wear them in a layered effect. Many businesses that sell perfumes also sell kits with matching shower gels and lotions. The first step is to take a shower with the shower gel, then to apply lotion. This is to ensure that all areas of the body will be covered with the scent. Applying the perfume last will be a great way of capping off the scent, and captivating anyone’s senses. Remembering to not spray or apply perfume to hair and clothes is an important step so that it does not stain clothing or ruin the hair from too many oils. Above all, just knowing which scents work best and wearing them well is the grandest way to apply any perfume for maximum effect.
I hope this article is useful to you. There are many articles on the internet to aid in your research, but hopefully we have boiled that information down to just a core sauce. Resources for this article came from Imogen at Insideoutstyle blog and the company websites of Fragrantica and Sentiments – their links are above.
This article was originally published in TG Forum on March 18, 2013
There’s nothing new about transgender and transsexual individuals – history is replete with examples, from the Indian hijras to the Israeli sarisim (eunuchs) to the Roman emperor Elagabalus – but national movements, particularly in the United States, are relatively new. You can follow the timeline below which takes us from pre-Christian times up to the most recent decade. In some instances, new facts have come to life which may question previously published history and I have identified them in red. This is not an original work but a compilation of the resources noted at the end of this article.
Furthermore, there is a serious group of transgender archivists who have compiled thousands of documents including manuscripts, books, photographs, postcards and audiovisual materials on the history of our movement. These collections are available in Victoria (Canada), Tuscon AZ, Houston TX, and New Haven, CT. So if you are a serious researcher or just want to know more and are in the area, the contact information for these archivists is here.
No where is transgender visibility more apparent however than in American pop culture. From the “Transparent” Golden Globe win and Laverne Cox’s domination in the “Orange is the New Black” series to the ABC interview and Vanity Fair article on Caitlyn Jenner, we see new hope for an all-encompassing inclusiveness of the entire LGBTQIA community. Perhaps the “trans moment” has arrived. From trans characters on prominent TV shows and movies to trans actors, actresses, and athletes earning the spotlight, we have incorporated the most important transgender moments in the country’s pop culture history within the greater timeline of trans history.
A condensed visible timeline of recent history from 1952 to current times is here. The longer version is below.
1503 BC — Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut ascends to the throne., the second Egyptian queen to rule (the first was Queen Sobekneferu of the 12th Dynasty). Learning from the disfavor shown to her predecessor, she dons male clothing and a false beard signifying kingship, and reigns until 1482 B.C. She has one daughter, Neferure, who she grooms as successor (male clothing, false beard and all), but Neferure does not live into adulthood.
Unknown date, BC — The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed by a natural disaster interpreted as an act of God. This disaster is often referred to as a rain of fire, possibly an indication of volcanic activity. Interpretations of the motive for this destruction, however, differ. In all accounts, a character named Lot (or Lut) figures. In the Biblical texts, Lot is earlier recorded to have incestuous relationships with his daughters, but later is considered righteous enough that he is given advance warning in order to escape. In Arabic texts, Lut is considered a prophet, but is also considered responsible for the development of the “sin of Sodom.” Classical texts of the time do not specifically indicate the “sin of Sodom” as being homosexuality (although one of the words used can be translated as homosexuality just as it can be interpreted as a number of other possibilities), and some pre-translation Biblical passages and early Hebrew texts point to it being more a sin of inhospitality and selfish attitudes about property. Like all ancient enigmas, it may be impossible to ever recover the true story.
6th Century to 1st Century BC — In the Greek Hippocratic Corpus (collection of medical texts), physicians propose that both parents secrete male or female “bodies” and that if the father’s secretion is female (rather than male) and the mother’s is male, the result would either be a “man-woman” (effeminate male) or a “mannish” female. [I have not been able to locate original texts or studies of them to determine if this is an attempt to classify homosexuality / bisexuality or an indication of some familiarity with intersex conditions — Mercy]
Circa 60 AD — Emperor Nero reportedly has a young slave boy, Sporus, castrated (eunuching, in early times, was believed to be the primary mechanism of gender change — “eunuchs” ranged in form from males whose testicles had been removed to those also given a total penectomy), and takes him as a wife in a legal public ceremony. Sporus is from then on clothed as an Empress, and accompanies Nero as such.
203 – 222 AD — Roman Emperor Elgabalus (or Heliogabalus), who ascends the throne in 218, becomes known for wearing makeup, eccentric habits, behaving as a prostitute, and numerous bisexual escapades. He reportedly offers a large reward to any physician who can give him female genitalia, a reward which is apparently never collected (although this may be urban myth).
1550 – Queen Elizabeth 1. Was she an imposter? Read the story here
Early 18th Century — The epithet “Molly” originates with “molly houses,” a term for effeminate gay brothels. The woman’s name itself seems to originate as a combination of the female name Mary with the Latin “mollis,” meaning soft, effeminate.
1755 — The first openly lesbian and transgendered person, Charlotte Clarke, comes out by publishing, A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Charlotte Clarke (Youngest Daughter of Colley Cibber, Esq.). In the autobiography, Clarke, a flamboyant cross-dressing actress during a time in which male impersonation was a popular form of entertainment (even if still very much taboo), relates many scandalous things, including her relationship with her “wife,” “Mrs. Brown.” Although quite famous after this publication, Clarke passes away three years later, penniless and destitute.
1777 — French spy and diplomat Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée Éon de Beaumont (October 5, 1728 – May 21, 1810), usually known as the Chevalier d’Eon is allowed to return to France on the condition that she live and dress as a woman. Earlier in 1756, the Chevalier had posed as a woman for several years to gain the friendship of Empress Elizabeth of Russia. Throughout her life, there would be ongoing speculation as to the Chevalier’s physical gender, which would be determined as male after her death (the predominant opinion had previously been that she was female).
1860 — Herculine Barbin is studied by her doctor, who discovers that the intersexed woman has a small penis, with testicles inside her body. Barbin is declared legally male against her wishes, becomes the subject of much scandal for having previously taught in a girl’s school, moves to Paris but continues to live in poverty, and ultimately commits suicide in 1868.
1865 — Dr. James Barry dies, and is discovered to have female sexual characteristics. He had been a surgeon with the British Army, and had been passing as male since at least 1809.
1867 — Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs (who relates in his memoirs that as a child, he wore girls’ clothing, wanted to be a girl and most enjoyed playing with other girls) becomes the first “Uranian” (he refers to “Urning” as a male who desires men, and “Dioning” as a male who is attracted to women — it is not until two years later that Karl-Maria Kertbeny coins the word “homosexual”) to speak out publicly in defence of GLBT causes, when pleading at the Congress of German Jurists in Munich for a repeal of anti-homosexual laws. He goes on to self-finance the publication of many advocative works written by himself, before finally retiring in exile, in Italy.
1869 — Karl Friedrich Otto Westphal publishes the first medical paper on transsexuality, describing two cases of what he termed “die contraire Sexualempfindung” (“contrary sexual feeling”), one being a male transvestite (the other was a lesbian)
1872 — Eugene Schuyler visits Turkestan and observes that, “here boys and youths specially trained take the place of the dancing-girls of other countries.” The Bacchá are androgynous or cross-dressing Turkish underclass boys, trained in erotic dance, but also available as prostitutes. This tradition continues until around or shortly after WWI.
1907 — Harry Benjamin (January 12, 1885 – August 24, 1986) meets Magnus Hirschfeld (May 14, 1868 – May 14, 1935) for the first time. Although it would be some time before Benjamin would actively research transsexuality, the two men would become the field’s pioneers.
1910 — Magnus Hirschfeld coins the term “transvestite.”
1914 — In a dictionary of criminal slang published in Portland, Oregon, the word “faggot” is first seen as applied to the GLBT community, with the usage example, “All the fagots (sissies) will be dressed in drag at the ball tonight.” The word originally appeared in Modern English in the 13th Century, meaning a bundle of sticks (derived from the French). By 16th Century, it meant bundles used for firewood, for the purpose of burning at the stake. A shortened version “fag” is adopted as a British colloquialism for cigarette, and is later (1923) also adopted in print as an epithet for gay and transgender practices, which at that time are all thought to be interlinked.
1918 – Author Jennie June, formerly known as Earl Lind, publishes her memoir The Autobiography of an Androgyne, which is followed by her second book four years later, The Female Impersonators. Both deal with the life of a trans person in the early 20th century.
1919 — Magnus Hirschfeld founds the Institute for Sexology in Berlin, Germany. This would be the first clinic to serve transgendered people regularily and develop their study.
1920 — Jonathan Gilbert publishes Homosexuality and Its Treatment, which includes the story of “H,” later revealed to be a Portland physician. Dr. Alan Hart “transitioned” by having a hysterectomy and proceeding to live as male, in 1917. The lesbian community would later proclaim Hart to be a pioneer and classify his decision to live as a man as being an accomodation to social prejudice and coercion by a heterosexual doctor, rather than accepting any explaination of transsexuality. However, an examination of the central characters in Hart’s novels reveals many of the common themes and feelings that transsexuals experience.
Although a few surgeons had already carried out some incomplete sex reassignment surgeries previously (primarily removing the existing sex organs, not creating new ones), 1920 also saw the first complete surgeries for MTF transsexuals. These took place at Magnus Hirschfeld‘s Institute for Sexology by Drs. Ludwig Levy-Lenz and Felix Abraham.
1923 — Recognizing some of the differences from transvestites, Magnus Hirschfeld introduces the term “transsexual.”
1920s and 1930s — Carl Jung proposes the idea of Animus and Anima, that every male has some of the feminine in his unconscious (Anima), and every female has some of the masculine (Animus).
The beginning of LGBT nightlife started with the Pansy Craze in the late 1920s and early 1930s and prompted a surge in the popularity of gay clubs and performers. People in the LGBTQ community performed on stages in cities around the world, but New York’s Greenwich Village, Times Square and Harlem were at its center, hosting some of the most renowned drag acts of the 1920s
1927 — The first transgender-themed play, Mae West’s The Drag, debuts in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It moves on to New Jersey, but fails to make it to Broadway, largely because it is forced to close after West’s arrest for appearing in her first Broadway hit, Sex. Although West originally defends The Drag by saying that she intended the play to call attention to homosexuality as a “disease,” she later becomes a sort-of GLBT activist. The play alludes to the writings of Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs, and West later goes on to famously tell policemen who were raiding a gay bar, “Don’t you know you’re hitting a woman in a man’s body?”
1928 — Virginia Woolf‘s novel Orlando: A Biography is published, chronicling the story of a man who decides not to grow old. He doesn’t, but he awakes one day in the body of a young woman, and lives out a lifetime as her before waking as a man. The remaining centuries up to the time the book was written are seen through a woman’s eyes.
1930 — Marlene Dietrich (alternate link; Marie Magdalene Dietrich von Losch; December 27, 1901 – May 6, 1992) moves from German Cabaret to American film with her debut in Morocco. As the ’30s progress, she becomes infamous for dressing in male attire, and gradually brings this penchant to fashion and film — ultimately making it acceptable for women to wear pants and other masculine forms of clothing. Reportedly, she was quite persistent on changing into male attire offstage, and rumors circulated of lesbian relationships — although she has never been fully established as identifying as male.
1930 also saw the transition of Lili Elbe, formerly Einar Wegener, a Danish painter and the first publically-known recipient of an SRS surgery. This became a major public scandal in Germany and Denmark, and the King of Denmark invalidated her marriage that October. She was fully intent on being someday able to conceive a child, and this drove her surgeons to try far-reaching techniques — she actually endured five surgeries in this process (the first was to remove the male genitals, the second to transplant ovaries — although she did have underdeveloped ones of her own — the third was unspecified, the fourth to remove the ovaries due to serious complications and the fifth being a “vaginaplasty”). She died in 1931, probably from complications from her final surgery, although rumors persisted that she had faked her death in order to live in peace. Her remarkable story is published in the Danish Girl available at Amazon.
1931 — Dr. Felix Abraham publishes Genital Reassignment of Two Male Transvestites, detailing those first MTF SRS surgeries in 1923.
1933 — A few months after Hitler assumed power in Germany, the Institute for Sexual Science is vandalized and looted by a mob of Nazi “students.” On May 6th, its archives of books, photographs, research documents and more are burned publically in Opera Square. The physicians and researchers involved with the clinic flee Germany, or in some cases commit suicide, unable to otherwise escape. Magnus Hirschfeld had moved to Paris by this time, and dies in exile in Nice, of a heart attack on his 67th birthday.
1937 — The Pink Triangle is first used as a symbol to denote people of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered orientations. Prisoners in Nazi concentration camps are made to wear triangular patches identifying their status: green for criminals, yellow for Jews, red for Communists, blue for illegal emigres, purple for Jehovah’s Witnesses, black for “antisocials,” brown for gypsies, and pink for “homosexuals.” In the hierarchy that developed, pink was near the bottom, and GLBT persons suffered extremely high death rates and were commonly used in medical experiments. In the 1970s, the Pink Triangle would become a symbol of defiance and solidarity in the GLBT community.
1938 — Di-ethyl Stilbestrol (DES) is introduced into chicken feed as a means of increasing meat production. Later, it is marketed to pregnant women as a “vitamin” to help prevent miscarriages (an unsubstantiated claim). Prescriptions for this purpose ceased in 1973, because by the 1970s, this drug became linked to endometriosis, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and infertility in female children, and more recently to intersex conditions and transsexuality.
1941 — Premarin® (conjugated estrogens from pregnant mares) is first marketed in Canada (the U.S. follows in two years).
The phrase “drag queen” first appears in print, although it had been used as theater and gay culture slang as early as the 1870s, and “drag” appeared alone in print in 1914. It is thought to be a shortening of “dressed as girl,” versus the alternately used “drab,” from “dressed as boy.”
1942 — Dr. Harry Klinefelter first diagnoses Klinefelter’s Syndrome, a condition caused by a chromosome nondisjunction in males; affected individuals have a pair of X sex chromosomes instead of just one, and are associated with additional risk for some medical conditions. Patients with Klinefelter’s Syndrome can be (but are not always) characterized by effeminate appearance, sterility, some gynecomastia and occasional transgenderism.
1946 — The Garden of Allah opens in the basement of the Arlington Hotel, in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. It is not the first gay cabaret club, but becomes fairly well-known and is chronicled in the book, An Evening at the Garden of Allah: A Gay Cabaret in Seattle.
1948 — Harry Benjamin is introduced by Alfred Kinsey to a boy who wants to become a girl, and whose mother seeks a treatment to assist, rather than thwart the child. The following year, he begins treating transsexuals in San Francisco and New York with hormones. The Institute for Sexual Science had not previously done this; the treatment was entirely new.
1949 — Michael Dillon becomes the first female-to-male transsexual to complete sex-change operation procedures after a series of 13 pre-phalloplasty operations performed in London over a four-year period. Phalloplasty for FTM transsexuals would not be coherently developed until 1958.
1952 — Christine Jorgensen (May 30, 1926 – May 3, 1989) is “outed” to the American press, and becomes the subject of great controversy. Her surgery had been performed two years earlier by Dr. Christian Hamburger in Copenhagen, Denmark. She hadn’t wanted to become a public spectacle, but spent her remaining years educating people about transsexuals.Read about her transformation from G.I. to tabloid star in the New York Daily News and click here for a special photo section on Christine by Transascity.org
1953 — Ed Wood Jr.‘s film Glen or Glenda appears, providing a surprisingly sincere attempt to understand transgenderism, despite its bizarre and schlocky B-movie trappings. Purportedly inspired by Christine Jorgensen. Wood would later become rather famous in Hollywood circles as being a transvestite.
1955 — Dr. John Money, a psychologist, writes the first of many papers in the Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital which will establish for him a reputation as a pioneer in the field of sexual development, and a proposes the theory that gender identity develops primarily as a result of social learning from early childhood.
Dame Edna Everidge (alternate link) first appears in a Melbourne comedy revue in 1955. At this time she is known as “Mrs Norm Everage”. She goes on to become an Australian figure of note in the 1990s.
1958 — The first complete Phalloplasty for gender reassignment purposes is performed by Dr. Judy T. Wu in Bratsk, Russia. Previously, the procedure had only been devised for men who had experienced amputations, particularily during WWI, with some early attempts to develop FTM procedures in the decade preceeding. Phalloplasty would still not become very refined until the 1970s, when additional aspects such as a pump for creating erections would be devised for injured Vietnam veterans. Phalloplasty for female-to-male transsexuals is more complicated for someone not having the original infrastructure, as the organ and its function are not easy to replicate mechanically. Dr. Wu’s procedure is developed from the 1949 process used on Michael Dillon.
1960 — Virginia (Charles) Prince begins publishing Transvestia Magazine. She also founds Los Angeles’ Hose and Heels Club and another organization that develops into Tri-Ess (“The Society for the Second Self”). These organizations are thought to be the first modern transgender support groups, and the magazine is the first publication for and by transgender people. She proceeds with a strong belief, however, in “heterosexual crossdressing” (i.e. crossdressers who are only attracted to women) and excludes “gay” or “bisexual” crossdressers from her groups, as well as transitioning transsexuals. Prince eventually goes on to live full-time as female, but Tri-Ess still does not allow full membership for gay men or MTF transsexuals to this day.
1961 — José Sarria becomes the first transgender-identified person to run for public office. A legendary drag queen, Sarria received 5,600 votes when running for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Sarria (who still identified as male, at least at the time) proclaimed himself “Her Royal Majesty, Empress of San Francisco, Jose I, The Widow Norton,” the latter being a reference to the 19th Century Joshua Norton, who had colorfully proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States. This led to the 1965 founding of the Imperial Court System, a non-profit charitable organization of mostly drag queens that continues to this day to raise funds and awareness for other charities and people in need. Based on Sarria’s model, another Court materialized in Vancouver, Canada in 1971, followed by many more in many major cities across North America. Sarria also later appears with other drag queens in the opening portion of the motion picture, To Wong Foo: Thanks For Everything — Julie Newmar.
1965 — David Reimer is born (named Bruce, by his parents). The following year, his penis is burned up to the base during a circumcision accident. He was taken to the Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore to see John Money. Money recommended that Reimer be raised as a girl. An orchidectomy was performed, and Reimer was raised with the name “Brenda.”
1966 — Harry Benjamin publishes The Transsexual Phenomenon. Although he hadn’t coined the word “transsexual,” it became the term of choice following this publication.
Johns Hopkins Medical Center opens the first Gender Clinic, under John Money‘s guidance. Although Money’s beliefs and writings cause severe damage with regards to intersex children and gender reassignment at birth, he also champions gender reassignment surgery (SRS) in adults, and the clinic becomes the mecca for gender transition. Much of the surgical work from this time would pioneer SRS techniques. Money’s legacy would be a mixed blessing / curse to the transgender cause.
One hot August night in San Francisco, the management at Gene Compton’s Cafeteria call police to deal with an unruly table of transpeople, hustlers, and down-and-outers (a typical segment of their clientele). When they attempt to arrest one of the drag queens, she throws coffee in his face, and a riot ensues, spilling out into the street. Although transgender (and gay pride) activism wouldn’t be galvanized until the Stonewall riot of 1969, the Compton’s riot would help set the stage for the gay pride movement, as well as be a spark to draw the San Francisco GLBT communities together earlier than elsewhere, making the city a cultural mecca for alternate sexualities. The story of Comton’s Cafeteria is not well known, but told in the documentary Screaming Queens (alternate link). After the riot, (now-Sgt.) Elliot Blackstone, who had been appointed the first liaison to the GLBT community in 1962, educates many on the Police force, helping the city to become one of the most trans-friendly environments in the world. He also helps to organize San Francisco’s first transgender support group.
Mid 1960s through the ’70s — Reed Erickson (1917 – 1992) founds the Erickson Educational Foundation, which supports many research projects that don’t fit into the usual catagories of grants… parapsychology, dolphin / human communication, human potential movement, and transsexuality. Erickson’s financial support makes much of the work of Harry Benjamin, John Money‘s Gender Clinic at Johns Hopkins Medical Center possible.
1968 — The International Olympic Committee (IOC) begins chromosome testing of female athletes, effectively banning transsexuals and some intersexed individuals (some of whom were fertile as female, with children) from competition, until 2002.
Universities also begin opening clinics for treating transsexuals; the first surgeries are performed on non-intersexed transsexuals.
1969 — Sylvia Rivera (2 July 1951–19 February 2002) throws a bottle at New York City cops harrassing patrons at Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969; friend Marsha P. Johnson (1945 – July 6, 1992 — Johnson is one of the many we remember during the Transgender Day of Remembrance) and several others join in, and the Stonewall Riots touch off the Gay and Lesbian Liberation movements (in other retellings, Johnson throws the first projectile). A founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance, by 1974, those organizations would abandon her, seeing transgendered people as being an embarassment and a political liability to the gay rights cause. By the 1990s, political gay and lesbian groups would denounce Rivera’s contribution, even denying that she was present during the Stonewall Riots. Rivera gradually fell into alcoholism, and it wouldn’t be until the turn of the millennium that she would reemerge as a public figure.
Raquel Welch stars in the film Myra Breckinridge, based on the Gore Vidal novel of the same, as a trans entertainer formerly known as Myron
Virginia Prince, of Tri-Ess, coins the word “transgender,” albeit with a limited definition to describe her transvestitism .Evidence now indicates that the term was coined in the early 60s
April corbett’s (neé Ashley) marriage is annulled and she is declared to be legally still a man, in spite of a legal sex reassignment, leaving United Kingdom post-operative transsexuals in legal limbo, unable to marry as either sex, until 2004.
Andy Warhol protege Holly Woodlawn debuts in the movie Trash, for which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would be petitioned to nominate her for an Oscar (they wouldn’t). Woodlawn would appear in a few more films and then disappear from sight, but not before being immortalized in the Lou Reed song, “Walk on the Wild Side.“
After initial rejection by founder Betty Friedan (who referred to lesbians as “the lavender menace”), the National Organization for Women (NOW) expands policy to include lesbian rights. Embrace of transgender issues does not come until circa 2003, and remains a marginal part of their policy. As NOW represents much of the core of the feminist movement, feminism as a whole is still very resistant to accepting transwomen as “women,” even after surgery is performed.
1970s (specific year unknown) — Metoidioplasty is developed for female-to-male transsexuals. Phalloplasty had existed previously, but Metoidioplasty was seen as a more affordable option, with better results in sensation.
1972 — John Money (with Anke Ehrhardt) publishes Man & Woman, Boy & Girl: Gender Identity from Conception to Maturity. He would go on to publish several books asserting that gender is learned, and not genetically predetermined. This theory is seized upon by the feminist movement as evidence that women are socialized to be passive against their true natures, and this later becomes a wedge between lesbian feminists and transsexual women.
In many of his writings of this time, Money cites his famous “John/Joan case”, which he touts as being a socialization of a boy whose penis had been lost in a circumcision accident, to be raised successfully as a girl. “John/Joan,” however, is David Reimer, who is not settling into his reassigned gender as “Brenda” as well as Money believes.
As a consequence of many of Money’s writings, paediatricians mistakenly take up the practice of gender assignment at birth. This is most often determined by the length of the penile / clitoral tissue: if it is smaller than a certain length, the child’s tissue is trimmed and they are assigned to be raised as a girl. This policy continued up to the turn of the millennium, and is a major factor in the origins of many intersexed children.
Jamie Farr’s crossdressing character, Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger, debuts on the CBS television show, M*A*S*H, the first transgender-related character to appear regularly on TV. Although Klinger was said to crossdress only as an attempt to be given a discharge from the Army, it is the first moment of particular visibility outside comedians’ sporadic use of crossdressing for comedic purposes (popularized by Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in the movie “Some Like It Hot” as well as by comedians ranging from Milton Berle to Jerry Lewis to Monty Python’s Flying Circus).
1973 — Folk singer and accomplished activist Beth Elliott, aka “Mustang Sally,” becomes vice-president of the Daughters of Bilitis. Soon afterward, she is “outed” as a transsexual, and hounded out of the organization by transphobic lesbian seperatists. At the West Coast Lesbian Conference held in Los Angeles later that year, the controversy would continue as lesbians protest the fact that Elliott is scheduled to perform at the meeting. She would mostly abandon activism until 1983.
Homosexuality is delisted from the medical community’s standard DSM, declaring that it is no longer a mental disorder (and never was). Transgenderism, however, remains listed as a mental disability, termed “gender dysphoria,” to this day.
The stage musical, The Rocky Horror Show debuts in London. Jim Sharman and Richard O’Brien would later translate it to film as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which would become a true cult phenomenon. The theme, “don’t dream it, be it” becomes a rallying cry for many transsexuals as well as many libertarians of all stripes.
Australian showgirl-turned-actress Carlotta (known for her performances in the long-running 1963 Les Girls cabaret, in which she was a founding member) debuts in the soap opera, Number 96 playing Robyn Ross, a transgendered showgirl. When the character’s (and actress’) identity is revealed, she is quickly written out of the show due to viewer response. Carlotta later becomes the inspiration for the movie, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
1974 — Jan Morris publishes Conundrum, the story of her quest for personal identity, and one of the earliest autobiographies to shed light on the transsexual dilemma.
1975 – In the film Dog Day Afternoon, Al Pacino‘s character plans to rob a bank to pay for the operation of his lover, a pre-operative transgender woman played by Chris Sarandon.
1976 — Reneé Richards (August 19, 1934 – present) is “outed” and barred from competition when she attempts to enter a womens’ tennis tournament (the U.S. Open). Her subsequent legal battle establishes that transsexuals are fully, legally recognized in their new identity after SRS, in the United States. Her story would be told in the book and movie, Second Serve, but Richards would later decide that she regretted her transition and the resulting public harassment.
Jonathan Ned Katz publishes Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. and the connection between Jonathan Gilbert’s “H” and Dr. Alan Hart, but asserts Hart as a lesbian, effectively stealing transgender history.
1977 — Sandy Stone is “outed” while working for Olivia Records, the first womens’ music record label, as a recording engineer. Lesbian activists threaten a boycott of Olivia products and concerts, forcing the company to ask for Stone’s resignation. Angela Douglas writes a satirical letter to Sister as a protest of the transphobia in the lesbian community in general, and the attacks on Sandy Stone in particular.
The NY Supreme Court rules that pro tennis player Renee Richards could compete in tournaments as a woman.
On The Jeffersons episode “Once a Friend,” Veronica Redd plays Edie Stokes, a woman once formerly known as Eddie Stokes.
1979 — Janice Raymond publishes The Transsexual Empire, a semi-scholarly transphobic attack. In the book, she cites Douglas’ letter out of context as an example of transsexual mysogyny, and casts Sandy Stone‘s involvement in Olivia Records as “divisive” and “patriarchal.” (Stone would reply to these accusations in her book, The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto.) She championed the idea that gender is purely a matter of “sex role socialization” (an opinion that coincided very much with John Money‘s, despite her open attacks on him), writing “… All transsexuals rape women’s bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves. However, the transsexually constructed lesbian feminnist violates women’s sexuality and spirit as well…. Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive.”
Johns Hopkins Medical Center closes its Gender Clinic, under the recommendation of new curator, Paul McHugh, John Money‘s successor and an opponent to both Money’s idea of gender as being learned, and Money’s support of transsexuals’ need to transition. Over the next two decades, many of the other Gender Clinics across North America would follow suit. The closure was justified by pointing to a 1979 report (“Sex Reassignment: Follow-up,” published in Archives of General Psychiatry 36, no. 9) by Jon Meyer and Donna Reter that claimed to show “no objective improvement” following male-to-female GRS surgery. This report was later widely questioned and eventually found to be contrived and possibly fraudulent, but the damage had been done.
Musician and synthesized music pioneer Wendy Carlos transitions and goes public.
Gays, lesbians and transsexuals, who were previously condemned to death in Iran, are given a new fate under law: they are forced to undergo SRS surgery to “correct” the inclination. Transsexuals are still held with a great deal of derision in Iran, and are encouraged to keep silent about their past.
1980 — David Reimer (as “Brenda”) learns at the age of 15 from his parents that he had been born a boy, and decides to re-establish a male identity. This process would take until 1997, and involve testosterone injections, a double-mastectomy and two phalloplasty surgeries.
Joanna Clark, aka Sister Mary Elizabeth, an Episcopal Nun, organizes the ACLU Transsexual Rights Committee.
Paul Walker organizes the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association to promote standards of care for transsexual and transgendered clients. He also founds the Janus Information Facility, continuing the work of Erickson Educational Foundation. Later, he would fall ill, and Joanna Clark and Jude Patton would co-found J2CP Information Services to continue this legacy.
1981 — Model, actress and Bond Girl Caroline Cossey (“Tula”) is “outed” by the British press. She would later become the first post-operative transsexual to pose for Playboy. By 1988, she would be struggling with the European Court of Human Rights to recognize her as a female — she would win in June 1989, but the court would overturn their decision a year later. Recognition would not come until The Gender Recognition Act 2004.
1982 — Boy George (George Alan O’Dowd) and Culture Club emerge on the pop charts with the song, “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” His crossdressing image is not totally new (androgyny had been played with by the likes of David Bowie, Steve Tyler and Aerosmith, Hall and Oates, Elton John…), but had certainly never been taken to the same extreme. By 1986, however, the disintegration of his relationship with drummer Jon Moss and drug problems would hamstring him and Culture Club would be disbanded. Despite some resurgences (he had a hit with the Roy Orbison song for the movie The Crying Game, for example)
The World According to Garp features a character named Roberta Muldoon (played by John Lithgow in an Oscar-nominated role) as a transgender former football player.
1983 — Jessica Lange wins the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Tootsie, a Sydney Pollack movie in which Dustin Hoffman plays an actor who takes on a female persona in order to secure work in a soap opera. Hoffman and Pollack are also nominated in the Best Actor and Best Director categories but do not win Oscar. Although not a portrayal of the transgender community, the movie is the first gender-transgressive one to be recognized with such an honor. Lange also later appears in the transgender positive made-for-TV movie, Normal. Later recognition for transgender-related film works include a win for Hilary Swank (Oscars, 2000, Boys Don’t Cry, Best Actress), a Golden Globe win for Best Picture (Ma Vie En Rose), and nominations for Jaye Davidson (Oscars, 1993, The Crying Game, Best Supporting Actor; Neil Jordan won the Oscar for his screenplay but lost the Directoral nomination), Felicity Huffman (Oscars, 2006, Transamerica, Best Actress; Golden Globe win for same category), and Edouard Molinaro (Oscars, 1980, La Cage Aux Folles, Best Director).
1984 — The International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) is founded, becoming the first major transgender organization to welcome both transsexual and crossdressing members, along with dual inclusion in its magazine, Tapestry (later, Transgender Tapestry Journal).
Heavy Metal band Twisted Sister brings gender-bending to the fore in a different music genre, although glam rock had been somewhat previously popularized by Aerosmith and KISS in the 1970s. Censorship contributes to the failure of their follow-up album, and front man Dee Snider spends two years heavily occupied with the music industry fight against the PMRC music labelling movement.
1985 — A pink granite monument is unveiled at the site of the Neuengamme concentration camp dedicated to the homosexual victims of Naziism. To some, it stands as a memorial to all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals killed in the Holocaust, as the Nazis did not discriminate regarding individual differences.
1987 — Albertan k.d. lang makes her musical debut. lang, whose image is very much a gender-challenging form of androgyny, exemplifies the dichotomy within the lesbian community regarding female-to-male transsexuals: so long as one does not step beyond the “butch” limit to actually transition to male, they are accepted and even applauded, but those who transition are deemed “traitors.” lang herself is out as a lesbian, but does not identify as being transgendered.
1989 — Billy Tipton, a well-respected jazz musician, dies and is discovered to be female, after presenting as a man since 1933.
Ray Blanchard proposes the theory of autogynephilia, which he defined as “a man’s paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman.” This theory catches on with some writers of the time, even transgender advocate Dr. Anne Lawrence, but is never quite accepted by the medical community as a whole, as it has many gaps in study (and logic), and widely conflicts with the accepted model of gender identity disorder. By the turn of the millennium, it would be dropped in favor of more biological studies of transgenderism.
RuPaul first appears in the Talking Heads video “Love Shack,” and goes on to become a drag queen of worldwide notoriety.
1990 — The term “two-spirit” originates in Winnipeg, Canada, during the third annual intertribal Native American/First Nations gay and lesbian conference. It comes from the Ojibwa words niizh manidoowag (two-spirits). It is chosen as a means to distance Native/First Nations people from non-Natives, as well as from the words “berdache” and “gay” — previously, there were a myriad of words used, different depending on tribe. The phrase “two-spirit” is used to denote all third-gendered peoples, whether gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered — but the intersexed are held in particularily high regard, and thought to be beings of potentially great power and blessing. The older term of “berdache” had been French in origin, and is derived from Arabic and Eastern words meaning “kept boy” or “male prostitute.” “Berdache” was used by explorers to explain to Western cultures how many Native traditions held a special reverence for two-spirit peoples to the earliest time, especially the Lakota, Ojibwa, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Mojave, Navajo and Cree tribes (others, such as the Comanche, Eyak, Iroquois and many Apache bands did not often recognize the existence of two-spirits). Two-spirit peoples were thought to have both male and female persons living within the same body, and a two-spirited child’s gender would be determined at puberty, based on their inclination toward masculine or feminine activities. In the last century, modern Christianity had “evangelized,” indoctrinated and destroyed many Native traditions, and two-spirit people are only now just re-emerging from homophobic stigmas.
On Twin Peaks, David Duchovny plays Denise Bryson, a transgender DEA agent
1992 — Nancy Jean Burkholter is ejected from the Michigan Womyn’s Festival by transphobic festival organizers. The festival’s policy is that the particularity of “womyn-born-womyn (WBW) experience comes from being born and raised in a female body. The following year, Camp Trans would be set up outside the entrance to the gate in protest of this policy — and continued three years following.
“March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation” organizers include bisexuals, but refuse to include transgender in the name of the march, despite months of work to try to get inclusion.
Trans activists working for many years with gay and lesbian activists successfully pass an anti-discrimination law in the State of Minnesota, protecting transsexual and transgendered people along with gays and lesbians. This is the first instance of inclusion in the U.S. despite the number of human rights motions since the 1970s to protect rights based on sexual orientation.
Brandon Teena is raped and later murdered by members of his circle of friends, when they discover his female genitalia. The story is later retold with an Oscar-winning performance in the movie, Boys Don’t Cry.
Anthony Summers publishes Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover, in which the rumor that Hoover was a transvestite is finally put into print. In the book, a Mrs. Susan Rosenstiel alleged that in 1958 she and her husband met Hoover and McCarthy lawyer Roy Cohn, both in drag. Several writers since have strongly discredited Mrs. Rosenstiel, and it is most likely that Hoover’s crossdressing is merely an urban legend. He may have been gay, however, as some (possibly circumstantial) information about he and right-hand man Clyde Tolson is more creditable.
Tilda Swinton portrays William Shakespeare’s Orlando, a character whose sex changes midway through the film.
The mini-series Tales of the City, adapted from the Armistead Maupin book series of the same name, debuts, featuring beloved trans character Madrigal (played by Olympia Dukakis).
Brandon Teena was an American trans man who was raped and murdered in Nebraska, sparking the call for legislation against hate crimes. His life is remembered in the film Boys Don’t Cry (1999) starring Hilary Swank, who won an Oscar for the role.
1994 — Transgender activists protest exclusion from Stonewall25 celebrations and The Gay Games in New York City. The Gay Games later rescinds rules that require “documented completion of sex change” before allowing transgendered individuals to compete.
Several cities on the west coast of the U.S. pass anti-discrimination statues protecting transsexual and transgendered people.
Hijras in India are given the right to vote. Within 5 years, a hijra will be elected as a Member of Parliament. Hijras are third-gender persons, usually male or intersex in origin, and living as female. Estimates range between 50,000 and 5,000,000 hijras currently living in the Indian subcontinent alone. Although early English writings referred to them as eunuchs, not all undergo castration. Hijras are limited by caste, must train under a teacher, and are considered low class. Violence against hijras is common, and the authorities continnue to be slow to do anything about the problem.
The cult Australian film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert debuts, starring Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce as drag queens and Terence Stamp as a trans woman.
In Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Sean Young plays a Lois Eihorn, a football player in transgender disguise. The film is widely criticized as being transphobic.
Mid-1990s — Prominent and respected lesbian writer, activist and therapist Pat (now Patrick) Califia comes out as a transman, and begins his transition to male. The lesbian community largely rejects Califia as a consequence, although there are pockets that still show support. Regardless, Califia’s writings still strike a chord with many of the alternative lifestyle communities.
1995 — Transsexual activists protest Oregon’s Right to Privacy (now known as “Right to Pride”) political action committee to cease using Alan Hart‘s old name as an award given out to lesbian activists. Over the following years, some of his legacy would be regained by the transgender community, and his preferred male name would regain recognition.
Tyra Hunter dies following a traffic accident in Washington, D.C. Her injuries should have been minor, but when the responding EMT team (a crew of D.C. firefighters) arrives on the scene, cut away her clothing and discover her genitalia, and then withdraw medical care, uttering epithets and taunting her as she bleeds. When she is finally taken to D.C. General Hospital, she is also given inadequate care and dies from blood loss. In 1998, a jury awards Tyra’s mother $2,873,000 after finding the District of Columbia (via both the EMTs and Hospital) guilty of negligence and malpractice. Several activist groups form in her memory.
Georgina Beyer becomes New Zealand’s (and the World’s) first transsexual Mayor of Carterton, where she remained until 2000 (see 1999 entry below).
The Triangle Program opens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, designed for GLBT students at risk of dropping out or committing suicide because of homophobia in regular schools.
1996 — JoAnna McNamera of It’s Time Oregon successfully convinces Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) that transsexuals are protected under existing Oregon labor law dealing with discrimination of people with disabilities and medical conditions. This made Oregon the third state to extend employment protection to transgendered people, following Minnesota and Nebraska.
Michael Alig is arrested for the murder of “Angel” Melendez over a drug debt. The arrest draws national attention to the Club Kids, an often-crossdressing troupe of wildly costumed teens in New York in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Club Kids fall from grace and eventually vanish. The story is later chronicled in James St. James‘ memoir, Disco Bloodbath, and in a movie and documentary, both entitled, Party Monster. Of particular significance, the famous female impersonator RuPaul was discovered during the Club Kids’ tour of the talk show circuit, roughly around 1988, and then catapults to fame in a music video for the B-52’s single, Love Shack.
1997 — Milton Diamond and Dr. H. Keith Sigmundson publish a paper that expose John Money‘s claims of success in the “John/Joan” case. Sigmundson is David Reimer‘s supervising psychiatrist at that time, and the two describe Reimer’s literal quest to regain his manhood. Diamond goes on to found the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.
Belgian film Ma Vie En Rose (My Life in Pink) strikes a chord with critics worldwide at a time when gender non-conforming children were seen as taboo. The movie depicts a child, born a boy, who insists on being seen as a girl.
1998 — John Colapinto publishes As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised As A Girl, telling David Reimer‘s story in depth, on the heels of a pivotal Rolling Stone article on the subject. Ongoing troubles would plague Reimer, however, including divorce, the death of his twin brother, family strain and more — Reimer commits suicide in 2004.
Transgender activists once again protest exclusion from The Gay Games in Amsterdam, this time with modified rules from those previously rescinded in the last Games: that competitors require documented completion of sex change or two years on hormones before being able to compete. FTM transman, photographer Loren Cameron drops out of competition in protest, but Israeli MTF singer Dana International still performs at the Games’ festivities.
Japan allows the first legal gender reassignment surgery (SRS) to be performed on an FTM transsexual.
Hayley Cropper, a transsexual character, first appears on the popular British soap opera Coronation Street. It is the second time that a transgendered character appears in serialized television (the first was in Australia in 1973 — see above), and the first time that the character is kept on as a regular in the series (she had been originally planned to be written out of the show, and viewer response pushed them to bring her back).
Nong Toom, a Thai kathoey (female-to-male transgendered person) enters professional boxing, despite being on hormones, and becomes a cross-dressing legend. She would later go on to have SRS surgery, and her story is told in the subtitled movie, Beautiful Boxer.
1999 — Since the Michigan Womyn’s Festival (a noteworthy and popular lesbian community event) continues to exclude transwomen and refuse to acknowledge them as being women, Camp Trans is revived to protest. Initially, post-op MTF transsexuals are allowed to attend, but confrontations occur. The exclusion and the protests would continue annually.
In a Texas court, in Littleton vs. Prang, Christine Littleton (a post-op MTF transsexual) loses her case against the doctor who she contended negligently allowed her husband to die… because, as the defense argues, even though her birth certificate has been amended to denote “female,” it had originally read “male,” and since same-sex marriage is not permitted in Texas, she was not legally his widow or entitled to anything on behalf of his estate.
Dr. Scott Kerlin founds the DES Sons International Network, an online support and advocacy group for children exposed to Di-Ethyl Stilbestrol (DES) in utero, fighting the perception that DES is strictly a womens’ health issue. When DES Sons is only a few months old, a new member raises the issue that he had always felt that he was a girl, and was, in fact, transsexual. This initiates a flood of confessions about other members’ own gender identity issues, and quickly becomes one of the dominant themes raised by male children of DES births (although not all DES Sons experience transgender leanings). DES Trans is later set up by Kerlin and Dr. Dana Beyer as a seperate support group for this discussion.
Pvt. Barry Winchell is murdered by fellow soldiers, resparking a questioning of the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy of the U.S. Military. He is murdered because of allegations that arise from his relationship with transwoman Calpernia Addams. Their story is retold in the 2003 movie, Soldier’s Girl. Addams later starts the TSroadmap website with Andrea James, and the two collaborate on several projects to assist transwomen.
Mayor Georgina Beyer becomes New Zealand’s (and the World’s) first transsexual Member of Parliament.
Robert Eads dies of ovarian cancer. A transman, Eads is denied treatment by more than two dozen doctors out of fears that taking him on as a patient might be an embarassment to their practice. His story is told (in his own words) in the award-winning documentary, Southern Comfort.
2000 — The Transgender Pride flag is designed by Monica Helms, and is first shown at a pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
2001 — Erin Lindsey begins producing Venus Envy, a popular ongoing webcomic strip focusing on the life of Zoë Carter, a young transsexual girl living in Salem, Pennsylvania.
The film adaptation of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, an off-Broadway cult musical, debuts. It follows a transgender German glam rocker (creator John Cameron Mitchell) recounting the story of her betrayal by her ex-boyfriend. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is currently on Broadway, and the titular character has been played by Neil Patrick Harris, Andrew Rannells, Michael C. Hall, and beginning in April, Darren Criss.
Canadian cyclist Michelle Dumaresq enters the sport of downhill bike racing, six years after her SRS surgery. She would go on to win battles with Cycling BC and the Canadian Cycling Association to compete, win the 2002 Canada Cup series, win the 2003 Canadian National Championships and score additional victories. At the 2006 Canadian Nationals, a protest from one of her competitors during the podium ceremonies would bring renewed attention to Dumaresq’s participation in female sports: the boyfriend of second-place finisher Danika Schroeter would jump up onto the podium and helped Schroeter put on a t-shirt reading “100% Pure Woman Champ.”
2002 — Gwen “Lida” Araujo is murdered by several partygoers, who had discovered her male genitalia. The three men who were charged alternately resorted to panic strategies during their defense, trying to minimize (i.e. to a charge of “Manslaughter”) or legitimize their actions because of their apparent shock at the discovery.
The International Olympic Committee amends policy to allow transexuals to compete as their reassigned gender if the surgery has taken place at least two years prior to the competition and if the athlete has been on a regimen of hormones equal to that of a person born to the gender.
The Transgender Law Center is founded, and works toward protecting and entrenching the rights of transgendered persons in California, as well as assisting legal activists elsewhere.
Author and activist Leslie Feinberg publishes Transgender Liberation: A Movement Whose Time Has Come. She would later publish the well-known works Stone Butch Blues (1993), and Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman (1996).
The Centurion, a modified form of metoidioplasty is introduced for female-to-male transsexuals.
2003 — Calpernia Addams and Andrea James found Deep Stealth Productions and TS Roadmap, invaluable resources for transwomen. Deep Stealth produces video work providing advice on voice therapy and makeup / presentation, and TS Roadmap covers the entire spectrum of MTF transition, in free online written advice.
Jennifer Finney Boylan‘s memoir, She’s Not There, becomes the first-known best-selling work by a transgendered American.
In Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court arrives at a 6-3 ruling that strikes down the prohibition of homosexual sodomy in Texas, and declares that such laws are unconstitutional. Several other states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books, but they are now not as frequently enforced.
HBO premieres the feature film Normal, which follows the gender transition of Ruth Applewood (played by Tom Wilkinson).
On the later seasons of Queer as Folk, Glen Campbell plays a recurring transgender character described as “Kiki the waitress, formerly known as Kenny the Waiter.”
Nip/Tuck season one features Jonathan Del Arco as Sophia Lopez, a trans character who leads the doctors to a practitioner that routinely botches surgery on transgender patients. Later, in July of 2004, Famke Janssen plays trans character Ava Moore. In October 2004, William Bell joins the cast as Cherry Peck, a recurring trans character.
2004 — The Gender Recognition Act 2004 is passed in the U.K., allowing transgendered persons to legally change their sex and have it recognized for the purposes of marriage and other issues.
Dee Palmer (born David Palmer), former member of the rock band Jethro Tull, comes out as an MTF transsexual. A former member of the group Toto also comes out at around this time, but I’ve lost the reference.
2005 — Although homosexuality had been delisted as a mental disorder in 1973, transgenderism is still listed in the DSM-IV. However, a new wave of thinking has transsexuality and transgenderism linked to more biological factors, such as DNA predisposition, or DES. Books of the time begin to reflect this, including Deborah Rudacille’s The Riddle of Gender.
On It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sweet Valley High’s Brittany Daniel plays a recurring character Carmen, a trans woman who has an on-again, off-again relationship with Mac
The eight-part Sundance Channel docu-series TransGeneration premieres, which looks at the lives of four college students undergoing their transition.
Felicity Huffman, in an Oscar-nominated role, stars in TransAmerica as a pre-op trans woman who reconnects with a son she never knew she fathered.
2006 — The Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act becomes law. The bill, fueled by the murder of Gwen Araujo and 2004 murder of Joel Robles (in which the defendant plea-bargained his way down to a 4-month sentence), prevents defendants from using panic strategies and potential biases against the victim to minimize their actions.
Dr. Ben Barres writes a highly-noted article in Nature refuting an earlier theory by Lawrence Summers and others that there are fewer female scientists than male because of a difference in “intrinsic aptitude.” In his paper, Barres notes the differences in treatment of female scientists from male ones, drawing from his own experiences in both genders.
One of the directors of the Matrix movies, formerly / currently known as Larry Wachowski, is reported by Rolling Stone Magazine to be transitioning to female, in an unflattering article. This website supports lifestyles that are practiced safely, responsibly, consensually and respectfully, and as Lana’s choice of partner is a known proponent of those things, we support Lana’s choice — and do not cast judgement on those things that we don’t know the full story about.
Cult favorite TV-show, The L Word, introduces a female-to-male transsexual. Max (Moira) is the first regularly-occurring FTM character in the history of television *and* the first transgender character to transition during the course of a show. Actress Daniela Sea is no stranger to performing as male, but some trans activists take issue with the series portrayal, saying that it is “based on the stereotype that transmen are driven by and use testosterone as an excuse to become abusive, violent, and over-sexualized” (Eli Green, PetitionSpot.com petition).
Chinese surgeons perform the world’s first penis transplant successfully (however, the patient later has it removed at the request of his wife, who has psychological objections), raising a question about the possibility of developing a similar option for transmen. Such a development is still likely years away, however, because of the need to find ways to deal with the differences in the underlying infrastructure.
The 2005 documentary, Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria, written, directed and produced by Victor Silverman and Dr. Susan Stryker, is awarded an EMMY® for “Outstanding Achievement, Historical / Cultural Program.” The film gives life to the early transgender (and wider GLBT) movement, and is one of the first true transgender-exploring works to be recognized with a major award (previous trans-ish recognition is profiled with Jessica Lange’s 1983 victory in Tootsie).
Alexis Arquette, the trans sister of Oscar winner Patricia Arquette, appears on VH1 reality series The Surreal Life.
The first transgender character on an American soap opera, Zoe (Jeffrey Carlson), is introduced on All My Children.
Rebecca Romijn plays Alexis Meade, a trans woman who rises to prominence on Ugly Betty.
2007 — The rock-star character of “Zarf,” who debuted on the soap opera All My Children near the end of 2006, comes out as a male-to-female transsexual, Zoey. Although this isn’t the first time a soap opera featured a transgendered character in a recurring role (Coronation Street was the second; the first was Number 96), it is the first to feature an MTF character in the beginning of her transition, and follow the process along (and second only to The L Word to feature a transsexual throughout the process). (Rather than alienate AMC’s viewers, Zoey appears to be re-energizing them).
40-year-old Chanda Musalman, who lives as both man and woman and has not had any GRS surgery, is granted both male and female citizenship by Nepali authorities, in the first known case of dual-gender recognition. It is unclear how this unique legal status will play out in practice – for instance, how it will affect Chanda’s marriage rights.
The Supreme Court of Canada refuses to hear Kimberly Nixon v. Rape Relief, a case in which the transwoman was dismissed from rape counselling because she was not born female (she had been living as female several years and is legally female). Because it was refused at that level, the B.C. Court of Appeal ruling against her still stands — a ruling which pointed out that transgender people are not currently protected by the Human Rights Charter under either category of gender or sexual orientation.
A 12-year old in Vienna, Austria is thought to be the youngest person in the world to begin a sex change procedure.
The city of Largo, Florida fires long-time City Manager Steve Stanton (the mayor and one councilman vote in his defense), after he is outed during preparation to announce his intention to undergo hormone treatment and start the process toward GRS surgery. This launches a nationally-publicized court case, in which the City of Largo is revealed to have operated counter to their own laws, which prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. In order to save face, the City attempts to first claim that city employees had lost faith in Stanton, and then (in the failure of that) dredge up performance issues, despite their overwhelming support, praise and raises given to Stanton prior to the firing.
Spain passes the most progressive law regarding Gender Identity in the world, allowing for the change of documented identity just by proving a medical treatment for two years, and a medical or psychological certificate, proving a diagnosis of gender dysphoria — not requiring a GRS.
UCLA scientists find 54 genes that may explain the different organization of male and female brains. They go on to state that “… gender identity likely will be explained by some of the genes we discovered.”
In Fresno, California, Tony (Cinthia) Covarrubias runs for Prom King, supported by a state law passed in 2000 protecting students’ ability to express their gender identity on campus. Covarrubias loses, but approximately one month later, her story lends a groundswell of support when Johnny Vera runs for and wins the title of Prom Queen at Roosevelt High School — the first transgender person known to have won such an honor.
Dr. Russell Reid, a U.K. psychiatrist specializing in gender reassignment, is found guilty in a medical community investigation of accusations that he inappropriately treated five patients, allegedly fast-tracking them, in contradiction of established standards of care. Although not the first time a doctor has been brought under fire or threat of legal action for his work (some had even been sued by their transgender patients), the high-profile case reopens major debates in the medical community about transsexuality and its treatment. How the finding will affect the existing pace of the current diagnostic process is as yet unknown.
Candis Cayne becomes the first transgender actress with a recurring trans character on a primetime series as Carmelita Rainer on ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money.
2008 – Isis King becomes the first transgender contestant on America’s Next Top Model.
2009 – The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, signed by President Barack Obama, allows for federal investigation of bias-motivated crimes based on gender identity in cases where local law enforcement is unwilling to act. Later the same year, Obama issues an executive order banning the executive branch from discriminating on the basis of gender identity in employment decisions.
The 21st season of The Real World (set in Brooklyn) introduces its first trans roommate, Katelynn Cusanelli.
2010 – President Obama appoints Amanda Simpson the Senior Technical Advisor to the Bureau of Industry and Security, making her the first openly trans woman named to a presidential administration.
On the episode “Quagmire’s Dad” of Family Guy, Glenn Quagmire’s dad, Lieutenant Commander Dan Quagmire, has gender reassignment surgery, becoming Ida Quagmire.
Adam Torres (played by Jordan Todosey) becomes the first transgender character introduced on Degrassi.
Brazilian model Lea T becomes a muse for Givenchy and appears in French Vogue. Later, in November 2014, she’s named the face of Redken, making her the first transgender model to front a global brand.
2011 – Trans model Carmen Carrera becomes a fan favorite on RuPaul’s Drag Race. In 2013, a Change.org petition was started, calling for Carrera to become the first trans Victoria’s Secret model.
Chaz Bono, Cher’s son formerly known as Chastity Bono, joins Dancing with the Stars.
2012 – Jenna Talackova becomes the first trans candidate to compete in Miss Universe Canadacontestant. She makes it to the Top 12, and is awarded Miss Congeniality.
In the British series Hit & Miss, Chloë Sevigny plays a transgender contract killer who seeks out her ex-girlfriend.
2013 – Fallon Fox becomes the first openly transgender fighter in mixed martial arts history.
Thanks to Orange Is the New Black, Laverne Cox is the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in the acting category. Previously, in August of 2008, Cox appeared on I Want to Work for Diddy, which won a GLADD award that she accepted. Later, on March, 15, 2010, the reality makeover series TRANSform Me debuted, which Cox produced and hosted, making her the first African-American trans person to do so.
Chelsea Manning, formerly known as army private Bradley Manning, is sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks. The day after her sentencing, Manning’s attorney issued a press release announcing that Manning is a woman and wishes to be acknowledged as such.
2014 – Janet Mock, a transgender advocate and writer, publishes a best-selling memoir about her transition, Redefining Realness
Jill Soloway’s Golden Globe-winning series Transparent, which follows a family that embraces their father’s transition to a woman, debuts on Amazon. The show’s featured cast also includes, who, thanks to 2005’s Romy and Michele: In the Beginning, made history as the first transgender woman to play a transgender character.
The second season of Orphan Black introduces its first trans clone, Tony Sawicki (played by the immensely talented Tatiana Maslany), and is expected to return in the show’s upcoming seasons.
Glee explores Coach Shannon Beiste’s (Dot Jones) transition to a man, named Sheldon, in its final season. Having always been a champion of LGBT rights and visibility, the musical sitcom debuted its first transgender character Unique Adams, played by Alex Newell, in April of 2012.
Actors Ben Huber, Nick Mills and Matt McGrath on stage in The Legend of Georgia McBride, 2014.
As an Olympic decathlon gold medalist and reality star, Jenner adds another name to the short list of transgender LBGT celebrity activists. Following her Vanity Fair debut, support has flooded in through articles, posts and celebrity outreach. All of the positivity will help pave the way for young transgender men and women to not be afraid of expressing their identity
For those interested in a more extensive look at LGBT history, you can visit the GLBT Historical Society
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Your fashion glossary with silhouettes and explanations of the terminology will give you a better understanding of the unique detail of all fashion trends? Is there a style silhouette that you don’t know or is new to you. Is there a fabric that you are unfamiliar with? Then use our below style silhouettes for clothes and accessories and Ulla Popken’s fashion guide for a better understanding of the terms involved in the fashions you are looking at. It’s all here. The guide is below the infographic.
Many women are unfamiliar with these terms. but walk into any ladies clothing store using this knowledge and you will be treated exceedingly well.
A-Line – A style line which gradually flares out from the waistline to a full skirt with wider hemline, causing it to resemble the letter A. Items with a swing shape are also often called A-line.
Ankle Pants – Pants cut at or just above the ankle. An ankle pant is an item that can be worn by women of varying heights.
Applique – Stitching in which a design is created by sewing pieces of fabric (or other materials) together onto a fabric background
Asymmetrical – The principal of informal balance, rather than formal balance, with each side of the garment offering a different silhouette. Garments may be draped to one side, have uneven hemlines, side closings, or cover only one shoulder.
Baby Doll – This is a short top, nightgown or dress whose hem is below the hip and above the knee. A baby doll is longer than a crop top, but shorter than a chemise
Back Drape – A length of material attached either at the shoulder or the waist that flows over the back to floor length. In some cases, it’s removable
Back Yoke – A fitted or shaped piece at the top of a skirt or at the shoulder of various garments. It is sewn as a separate piece into the construction of the garment.
Ballerina Flat or Ballet Flat – A flat shoe with a thin, skid-proof sole, often with a drawstring or elastic top line
Basque Waist/V-Waist – A dropped waist that starts at, or just below, the natural waistline, and dips in the center creating a “V” shape
Bateau Neck/Boat Neck – A high, wide, straight neckline that runs straight across the front and back, meeting at the shoulders; it has the same depth in the front and back
Batik – Our specially designed jacket and tunic are inspired by Bali’s ancient batiking tradition. Each garment is taken through an extensive and intricate process of hot wax stamping, dying, and drying yielding gorgeous prints.
Besom Pocket – A pocket sewn inside a garment with access through a welted slit-type opening
Bias Cut – Cut diagonally across the grain of a fabric. This is used to create garments that follow the body’s curves. Cutting on the bias also causes garments to drape into soft folds. Pant waistbands are sometimes cut on the bias as well to provide more stretch and ease.
Bikini – A brief, close-fitting two-piece bathing suit.
Bikini Panty – Panties with full coverage in the front and back with high-cut sides
Bohemian – It is the feeling of a free-spirited attitude toward fashion; with feminine details, including flounces, ties, ribbons, ruffles and embroidery. Denim, paisley and floral prints are also associated with this trend.
Boiled Wool – A wool fabric that has been processed to make it more dense and compact.
Bodice – The torso area of a woman’s dress.
Body Briefer – A girdle/bra that extends from shoulder straps to the thighs.
Boucle – An uneven yarn made with threads of varying looseness for a luxurious, nubby texture.
Box-Pleated – Two folds of fabric brought together to form a pleat.
Boy-Leg – Shorts, undergarments, or swimwear that have a close fitting leg that reaches to the top of the thigh.
Broomstick Dress – A dress (or skirt) characterized by numerous pleats and crinkled material.
Burnout – Fabric with an alternating solid and sheer design, often in a floral or animal print. This fabric comes usually from China and is done in a silk or polyester blend.
Bustier – A sleeveless, strapless top or dress held in place by boning, elastic or stretch fabrics. It is designed to help shape and enhance the bust line.
Camisole/Cami – A slim fit top that can be worn alone or as a layering piece. This type of item can range from 100% cotton to 100% silk. It is an essential wardrobe piece.
Camp Pockets – Pockets that are sewn to the outside of the garment, usually squared off and characterized by seaming.
Cap Sleeve -. A small, short sleeve that sits on the shoulder, either forming a stiff cap or falling on to the arm to provide minimal coverage
Capri Pants – Three-quarter length pants designed to hit about two inches below the knee. Capri pants are also great for the petite or tall customer since where they fall on the leg is not required to be in the same place on each person. This also makes them a pant that can go from season to season. First popularized on the Isle of Capri
Cardigan Jacket – A great item that can be in variety of fabrics and styles. This item can range from a sweater knit to being woven. It can be collarless or have a collar but opens the full length of the center front. Lengths vary from short to longer lengths for full figured customers.
Cargo Style – Pants or shorts with a patch pocket, zip pocket or bellows pocket with a flap. Cargo style pants make an excellent accent to any wardrobe and add a touch of fun.
Carpenter Pants/Shorts – Five-pocket pants characterized by a hammer loop – a stretch of material connecting the outside seam to the back pocket.
Chanel Style – Anything that is elegant, simple and easy to wear. Little black dresses and suits. Multi-chain jewelry. Named after Coco Chanel, the French couturier
Charmeuse – A manmade, shiny, silk-like fabric.
Check – A variety of patterns, including gingham, tattersall, houndstooth, plaid and checkerboard
Chenille – The chenille yarn is manufactured by placing short lengths of yarn, called the “pile”, between two “core yarns” and then twisting the yarn together. The edges of these piles then stand at right angles from the yarn’s core, giving chenille both its softness and its characteristic look. Chenille will look different in one direction compared to another, as the fibers catch the light differently. The yarn is commonly manufactured from cotton, but can also be made using acrylic, rayon and olefin.
Cotton – Cotton is soft, breathable and comfortable. It is a natural fiber that comes directly from the cotton plant. This fabric is something we believe is essential for our plus size customer.
Chiffon – A lightweight, plain-weave, sheer fabric made with very fine, tightly twisted yarns. It is very strong, despite its delicate look
Clog – A casual shoe on a wood base, usually closed toe with open back
Column Skirt/Straight Skirt – Also referred to as a pencil skirt, this skirt is a straight line with no flare or fullness at the hem or waistline
Concealed Snap/Velcro®/Button Placket – A slit in a garment where closures are hidden.
Convertible Collar – A rolled collar that can be worn open or closed which is sewn directly to the neckline. It can be made with buttons or a zipper. This type of collar can keep you warmer in the fall and cooler in the spring.
Cotton Poplin – Medium weight durable woven textured fabric made with cotton, cotton blends or cotton/spandex blends.
Covered Heel – A heel that is covered with leather or man-made materials that match the color and texture of the vamp.
Cowl Neck – A loose neckline featuring a piece of material attached to a garment at the neck, which is draped loosely from shoulder to shoulder at the front neckline or back. This type of collar works well for plus size women since the cowl neck is kept loose and is not tight around the neck
Crepe – A fabric characterized by a crinkled, puckered surface or soft mossy finish. It comes in different weights and degrees of sheerness; it is soft to the touch and drapes elegantly for true figure flattery, whether woven or knit from natural fibers or man-made synthetics. Crepe de Chine – Fine, lightweight silk fabric made with highly twisted yarns in the filling, yielding a slightly pebbly texture.
Crew Neck – A round neck with ribbed banding that fits close to the base of the neck.
Crinkle – A wrinkled or puckered effect in fabric which may be obtained either by the construction or the finishing of the fabric. A crinkled texture increases the surface interest of the clothing, while insuring care is kept to a minimum, as the wrinkles are all a part of the charm.
Crinoline – A stiff fabric with a weft of horse-hair and a warp of cotton or linen thread. The fabric first appeared around 1830, but by 1850, the word had come to mean a stiffened petticoat or rigid skirt-shaped structure of steel designed to support the skirts of a woman’s dress into the required shape
Crochet – The interlocking of loops from a single thread with a hooked needle, crocheting can be done either by hand or by machine. It has a special quality that seems to hint at intricate handiwork and produces a light and airy effect.
Cropped Pants – Pants cut to a length about 2 inches below the knee. A crop pant is a wonderful all year round item. You can wear them with sandals in the summer and boots in the winter. These type of pants work well for petite or tall customers since the pant can fall in a variety of places and still look great.
Cropped Top/Jacket – Hem is cut just above the waist
Cutwork – Designs cut out of a fabric and embroidered with a purl stitch. The cutwork detail can be done in a variety of fabrics.
Darts – Darts are often put in garments in a variety of places. Some tops have bust darts which come from the armhole and provide shaping for the bust. Some pants have darts in the front or back to help the shape and curve of the garment. Darts sometimes are an essential piece to an excellent fitting garment.
Décolleté – When a garment is cut very low at the neckline, revealing shoulders, back and bosom.
Demi Bra – A half bra that leaves the top of the bustline exposed; perfect worn with low-cut tops or dresses.
Denim – An all-American favorite whether in the form of your favorite jeans, skirts or jackets. When blended with spandex, it becomes stretch denim and the added spandex helps it retain its shape even longer. Denim is a flexible, forgiving fabric the more it is washed the softer it becomes
Diamond Neck – A diamond-shaped cutout that fastens at the front or back neckline.
Dolman Sleeve -. Cut as an extension of the bodice, the dolman sleeve is designed without a socket for the shoulder, creating a deep, wide armhole that reaches from the waist to a narrowed wrist. Also called a batwing sleeve. This design is wonderful for the full figured woman that has a large upper arm
Double-Breasted – A style of closure usually used on a jacket in which one edge of a garment overlaps another with a double row of buttons or other type of fasteners
Double-Tee Top – A layered look with one T-shirt over another, usually connected.
Doupioni (also Douppioni or Doppione) – Fabric made from silk-like yarn, or silk yarn reeled from double cocoons. The yarn has uneven slubs, rather than smooth, giving a decorative texture to the fabric.
Drape – Is the hang or fall of fabric when made into a garment.
Draped Bodice – An extra piece of material is draped over the bustline.
Dropped Shoulders – Characterized by the shoulder/sleeve seam falling off the shoulder.
Dropped Waist/Low Waist – A waistline that is sewn below the body’s natural waistline – also called a low-slung waistline; intended to visually help lengthen the torso
Duster – A longer length top stopping somewhere above the knee, with or without a button closure . Plus size women look beautiful in duster styles as the long line of a duster is very slenderizing.
Embroidery – This is the use of needlework to embellish or ornament a fabric. A wide variety of decorative hand or machine stitches in the same color or contrasting colors can be used.
Empire – A style that is designed with a high waist to create a flattering sweep.
Empire Bodice – A bodice that ends just below the bust, sometimes gathered.
Empire Seams – Seams that are sewn directly below the bustline.
Empire Waist – The location of the waistline just under the bust line; it can be seen on jackets, blouses, tees, or dresses. It is universally flattering for all figures because it visually adds length to the torso, for an instantly slimming effect.
Espadrille – A square throated, closed back shoe with a fabric upper and a woven hemp bottom, nowadays the term refers to any fabric shoe with a rope bottom
Envelope Hem – A hemline open at the bottom with angular, overlapping flounces. Also applies to a shoe’s top-line detail, ie: envelope vamp.
Epaulette – Any shoulder ornament, usually a button strap; often seen with braiding or other trim.
Eyelet – A circular, decorative edged with close zigzag stitching. Or a fabric punched with these decorative holes, typically in an all-over design, and then similarly embroidered. Eyelet is a fabulous lightweight airy summer fabric.
Faux – French word for “fake”, faux is used to describe synthetic items, like faux fur, or it indicates that something only looks one way, like a faux wrap dress
Fine Gauge – A smooth sweater-knit garment that has little or no texture. The finer the gauge, the more densely the fibers are knit and the smoother the finish. Plus size women can stay cool but still look fashionable in this type of lightweight knit.
Fishtail Train – Fitted around the hips and flares out from the knee to the hemline, longer in the back.
Fitted Point Sleeve – A long, narrow sleeve that tapers to a point that rests against the back of the hand.
Fixed Underwire – With the look and feel of a traditional underwire bra, the fixed underwire offers the most support and definition for full-busted women.
Flare Pants – Pants that flare at the hem. Also called bell-bottoms
Flat-Front Pants – A pant in which the waistband in the front lays flat it does not have any gathers or pleats. A flat front pant provides less bulk than an all-elastic waist.
Floating Underwire – The floating underwire has a sleek appearance and easy fit while providing more support for average to full-busted women.
Flood Pants – Pants cut at, or just above, the ankle.
Florentine Neck – A wide, square-cut neckline extending to the shoulders.
Form-Fitting/Slim Fit – Straight from waist to ankle except for a slight curve around the hip.
Flounce – In sewing and dressmaking, a ruffle or frill is a strip of fabric, lace or ribbon tightly gathered or pleated on one edge and applied to a garment as a form of trimming. A deep (wide) ruffle is usually called a flounce.
French Terry – This fabric has a smooth front and a looped texture on the back, for a plush feel against your skin. Sometimes French Terry is used with the loop texture on the outside of the garment as part of a design detail.
Gabardine – A sturdy, durable, lightweight twill fabric of cotton, wool or rayon.
Gathering – This is a technique that creates fullness by tightening threads in a row of stitching. This is a popular trend for the spring and summer season and always a favorite for our customers.
Gaucho – Wide-legged pants or divided skirt reaching mid-calf. This style of pant in a long version is called palazzo. Our palazzo pants are extremely flattering on the plus size women.
Gauze – A lightweight fabric with a very open weave, which is used for warm-weather shirtings and dresses.
Georgette – Whether sheer or semi-sheer, this lightweight, plain weave fabric has a fine crepe surface and is characterized by its crisp feel, substantial body and outstanding durability.
Godet – A triangular piece of fabric that is inserted into the lower edge of a skirt or sleeve in order to provide additional fullness.
Grommet – A decoration usually in plastic or metal found as a detail on various garments. They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Gros Point de Venise – High relief needlepoint lace.
Guipure Lace – Tape lace in large, dramatic patterns executed on coarse mesh.
Halter – A halter neckline features a strap that goes around the neck, usually leaving the upper back exposed. A halter neck can be found on dresses, tank tops and swimwear.
Handkerchief Style – The hem of a blouse or skirt that is gently jagged to form flowing points.
Herringbone – A pattern made of short, slanting parallel lines adjacent to other rows slanting in reverse direction, creating a continuous V-shaped design like those of bones of a fish. Often used in tweeds.
Hidden Placket – If the buttons are concealed by a separate flange or flap of the shirting fabric running the length of the placket, it is called a hidden placket.
Hemstitching – Decorative border in which some threads have been removed and some bundled to create an evenly spaced openwork.
High-Low Hem – A hemline higher in the front or on one side for a dramatic flounce effect.
Hip-Huggers – Low-slung pants, skirt or belt worn below the natural waist, creating the impression of a longer, leaner torso.
Hook-and-Eye Closure – A 2-part fastening device consisting of a metal hook that catches over a bar or into a loop.
Horseshoe Neck – A deep scoop neck resembling the shape of a horseshoe.
Ikat – Is the method of weaving that uses a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye. The dye is applied prior to the threads being woven to create the final fabric pattern or design.
Inseam – The inside seam of a pant/short leg.
Insole – Inside of a shoe, usually covered by a sock lining.
Instep – The arched middle part of the foot between toes and ankle.
Inverted Pleat – Reversed box pleat with folds meeting at the top of the pleat.
Jersey – A type of fabric with a flat appearance, knit on a circular, single-knit machine; its principal distinction is that it is not a fabric with a distinct rib. Our signature viscose spandex jersey knit fabric is loved by all our customers. Here is just one example of our stretch viscose knits.
Jacquard – A raised design or pattern woven into a fabric as opposed to being printed on the fabric.
Jewel Neck – A high round neckline resting simply at the base of the neck.
Jogger – A 1-pc. swimsuit usually with a tank or maillot bodice, full-cut attached shorts, inner panty; hides tummy, hips, thighs; comfortable for swim, sports.
Kabuki-Style – A full-cut, dramatic top with dolman-style sleeves and a collarless square or boat neckline.
Kangaroo Pocket – A large single front pocket with side openings allowing both hands to be inserted, meeting in the middle.
Keyhole – A tear shaped or round cutout that usually but not always fastens at the front or back neckline.
Kidskin – Shoe or glove leather from skins of goats; very soft and fine to the touch.
Kimono – The true definition is a long robe with wide sleeves traditionally worn with a broad sash as an outer garment by the Japanese. Our definition is a loose fitting garment with loose flared sleeves. A kimono is an item that flatters the plus size shape.
Laser-Cut Design – A modern technique for cutting openwork patterns into fabric or leather using laser-equipped computerized equipment.
Leather – The dressed or tanned hide of an animal. Any of various articles or parts made of leather. It is protective, comfortable, and it breathes.
Leg-of-Mutton Sleeve – A loose, full sleeve, rounded from the shoulder to just below the elbow, then shaped to the arm, often ending in a point at the wrist.
Lettuce Edge – A thin ruffle at neckline, cuff or hem.
Linen – Fabric that is woven from threads made from the flax plant. Linen can be blended with cotton which makes the fabric more resistant to wrinkles.
Lycra® Spandex – The Du Pont® Corporation’s name for their trademarked brand of spandex stretch material
Madras – Shirting fabric woven in structured patterns; usually in fine cotton.
Maillot – (Pronounced “my-yo”). A 1-pc. swimsuit with sewn-on straps and scoop, squared or sweetheart neckline; designed to flatter most figure-types
Mandarin Collar – A band collar that stands straight at the edge of the neck, about 1 inch high, and opens front and center.
Matte Jersey – A plain-stitched knit that’s soft and fluid with a flat finish. Lighter than interlock and perfect for sportswear. Ulla’s matte jersey collection is fabulous for travel. It is virtually wrinkle free.
Maxi Dress – A maxi dress is a floor or ankle length informal dress. Maxi dresses are formfitting at the top and loose flowing at the bottom, cut to flow over the body. They are usually made out of cotton or polyester and come in a variety of necklines, colors and patterns.
Mermaid – This skirt hugs the body until it reaches the knees or just below and then ends in a dramatic flare.
Merrow Stitching – The type and name of machine to stitch overlock edges of emblems.
Metallic – A fabric made with metallic fiber, namely a fiber or yarn made of or coated with metal for the sake of embellishment. The glint of gold or silver is woven into the fabric, creating highlights throughout the garment or drawing attention just too special details. Our Metallic Separates glisten with details
Microfiber – The finest of all man-made fibers. Tightly woven to create an ultra light, silky fabric with an incredibly smooth and supple hand. Today’s microfibers can be polyester, nylon, acrylic or a similar synthetic blend.
Microfleece – A polyester fleece, very soft and dense, but not bulky or fluffy.
Mocassin – Soft loafer-like leather shoes constructed with lacing to attach the sole portion to a U-shaped upper. Often elaborately beaded. Derived from designs of Native Americans.
Mock neck – A feature found in a variety of items. A mock neck is a neckline that is modified with a slightly looser fit without the extra fold, or roll, of fabric that characterizes a turtleneck in the classic sense.
Moisture-Wicking – Synthetic materials that have been developed specifically to channel perspiration away from the body. Used in active wear and athletic shoe linings.
Moleskin – A cotton or synthetic twill fabric that has a warm, brushed hand.
Mongolian Wool – Long, curly woolen fibers used as a fluffy collar or trims on garments.
Notch Neck – A notched neckline has a small triangular cutout in the front center.
Notched Collar – A two-piece collar that can be only worn open most commonly found on blazer style jackets.
Natural Waist – A seam or waistband that secures or falls at the natural curve of the body, which is the indentation between the hips and the rib-cage.
Noile – Short fibers that create a slubbed effect on the surface of a fabric.
No-Waist Waistline – Leaving the waistband out of pants or a dress to achieve an elegant simplicity and a smoother silhouette.
Nubuck – Suede that is sanded down to a skin-like smoothness and softness.
Nylon – Any of a number of strong, elastic, synthetic polyamide materials that are fashioned into fabrics. Nylon’s best qualities include its ability to retain color and shape and its tendency to resist wrinkles and dry quickly.
Ombré – Shading of a single color from light to dark; or the gradual blending of several colors.
Off-the-Shoulder Neck – A neckline that lies gently hovering across the top of the bustline with the shoulders uncovered.
Open Stitch – Woven or knit fabrics that are loosely-stitched, achieving a semi-transparency.
Organza – Fine, sheer, lightweight, crisp fabric with a stiff feel. This fabric is often dressy and used for special occasion items.
Ottoman – Plain, heavy woven fabric having flat, crosswise ribs.
Over-Dyed Denim – Interesting color-on-color effect obtained by adding color dye during the washing process; the more dye added, the more intense the color.
Overskirt – A skirt worn over another skirt.
Overlock Edge – This is a stitch sewn over the edge of one or two pieces of fabric for edging, hemming or seaming.
Padded Bra – A bra with padded lower cups for a fuller bustline.
Paillette – Small glittering disk, similar to a sequin, sewn together with others on fabric to create a fishscale effect.
Paisley – Fabric is rich with swirling prints either woven in or screened. It is often in a droplet-shaped vegetable motif of Persian and Indian origin, similar to half of the Yin Yang symbol.
Pareo – A versatile rectangle of printed fabric worn as a shawl, swimsuit cover-up, skirt, dress or scarf. Based on garments worn by natives of Pacific Islands.
Patchwork Pattern – Woven fabric that combines together pieces of different prints and designs with stitching sometimes quilted. This is often seen in romantic or country looks.
Pea Coat/Pea Jacket – Heavy, warm hip-length woolen jacket with double-breasted front and a wide notched collar; originally worn by sailors in the color known as navy blue. This style is now done in a variety of exciting colors and styles.
Peachskin/Peached – Fabric that is processed to achieve a surface that has the soft sueded feeling of a fresh peach.
Peasant Top – Romantic style often characterized with a low neckline, ruffles, lace details, loose sleeves, or free flowing material.
Pedal Pushers – Straight cut pants, often cuffed, that fall just below the knee.
Peek-a-Boo – Any part of the garment which has been cut out to reveal skin.
Peplum – Short flounce attached to a snugly fitting waistline.
Petticoat – A woman’s light, loose undergarment hanging from the shoulders or the waist, worn under a skirt or dress.
Picot – A row of small loops woven along the edge of fabric in ribbon or lace for a decorative effect.
Pieced – A look created by sewing several pieces of material together to form the garment, much like a quilt.
Pigment-Dyed – Yarns colored with material that is of animal, vegetable or mineral origin before they are spun into fabric.
Pintuck – In sewing, a tuck is a fold or pleat in fabric that is sewn in place. Similar to pleats, but tucks are smaller, generally being an inch or less in width.
Piqué – (Pronounced “pee-kay”). Durable, knit or woven fabric with raised lengthwise cords or squares which are part of the weave.
Placket – A placket is an opening that allows room for the garment to be put on. Closures such as buttons, snaps, hooks, zippers, or Velcro® are often incorporated into a placket.
Plissé – Fabric with a puckered surface. French word meaning gathering, folding, pleating.
Plus-Calf – Boots with extra fullness at the wide part of the calf of the leg.
Poet Style – See Bohemian.
Pointelle – An open-hole stitch usually in the shape of a V, flower or diamond.
Polo Dress – A long or knee-length sheath designed as an extension of the classic, cotton knit polo shirt.
Polyester – This is the original “miracle” fiber. A synthetic that comes in a wide range of weaves, often blended with other fibers. With polyester added to a garment, wrinkle resistance is built right in, shape and color retention are a given, as is durability.
Poncho – This is a straight piece of fabric with an opening in the center for the head. Originally a Latin American garment in colorful woven fabrics that is used as outerwear now used in sweaters, and blouses as well.
Ponte – Double-knit interlock fabric with stand-out stability and firmness that’s perfect for suiting. Ponte fabric has a subtle sheen and incredible durability.
Poplin – A finely ribbed fabric, usually made of cotton.
Popover Dress – A one-piece dress that pulls over the head with a back zipper closure; may be designed to look like two pieces.
Princess Seams – Seams that can be found in the front or the back of a garment, that create a figure-flattering, form-fitting shape. Princess seams are always flattering on full figured women as they provide a slenderizing appearance along the waist.
Pucker Knit – A plissé fabric with a crinkled or puckered effect; usually some spandex is required to create this textured, stretchy surface.
Puff Sleeve/Pouf Sleeve – A full sleeve of varying lengths, created by generous gathering around the armhole.
Pump – Slip-in shoe with a medium to high heel for day or evening.
Purl Stitch – Knitting stitch employed to create a ribbed effect.
Raffia – A fine palm leaf used for decorative effects. Can be woven into shoes or hats.
Raglan Sleeve –
A raglan sleeve is a type of sleeve whose distinguishing characteristic is to extend in one piece fully to the collar, leaving a diagonal seam from underarm to collarbone. These sleeves are often shorter, usually half or three quarter-length.
Rayon – A lustrous, man-made fabric that drapes beautifully, resist wrinkles and is easy to care for. In addition, it takes and holds color exceptionally well. This fabric is often blended with other fibers. This fabric has excellent breathability. Ulla Popken uses this fabric as often as they can in their designs.
Ruching – (Pronounced “rooshing”). Shirring or pleating for a textured effect, or an applied border of pleated ribbon for a ruffled effect.
Ruffle – A strip of pleated material used as a decoration or a trim at the edge of a garment that creates a rippled effect.
Saddle Stitch – Small running stitches visible on the outside of shoes and accessories
Safari Style – Safari Style Garments adapted from bush jackets worn by hunters on African safaris; including such features as bellows pockets, belting and epaulettes. Also included in this style are a wide variety of animal and tribal prints.
Sandal – A shoe held on by straps or a wide-banded vamp.
Sarong Skirt – Long cloth that is wrapped around the entire body.
Sateen – Lustrous cotton or rayon, this fabric has a smooth hand with a soft sheen.
Satin – Is a fabric with a high luster, smooth front and slightly textured back. It glides over the curves for true figure flattery. It can be woven from fibers as luxurious as silk or as practical as rayon or polyester.
Scalloping – Edges either cut, knit or crocheted in a tight wave pattern.
Scoop Neck/Round Neck – A low, U-shaped or round neckline.
Seersucker – This is a light, woven fabric with a puckered effect usually in a yarn-dyed pattern. It is made from cotton, rayon and synthetic fibers in varying weights. The woven crinkle is produced by alternating slack and tight yarns in the warp.
Shaft – The part of the boot that covers the ankle or the leg.
Shantung – A heavy fabric with a rough, slubbed surface usually made of silk or some other soft material (often rayon or cotton).
Shawl Collar – This is a one-piece collar that is turned down to form a continuous line around the back of the neck to the front of a garment.
Sheath – A straight narrow dress fitted to the body with vertical darts or a set-in waist.
Shelf Bra – It’s a bra that is built into a garment and offers very light support. It has a smooth, seamless appearance. .
Shift – A straight lined basic dress of the 1960s, hanging away from the body.
Shirring – Shirring is two or more rows of gathers used to decorate arts of garments, usually the sleeves, bodice and yoke.
Shirt Dress – A dress cut similar to a man’s shirt with buttons down the front. Shirtdresses can be seen in fabrics from poplin to satin.
Shirttail Hem – The curved bottom hem of a shirt, higher on the side hip area (for ease of movement) dipping low in the front and back (so that the shirt will stay tucked into pants).
Shrug – A woman’s small, waist-length or shorter jacket.
Silk – A fine, strong, continuous filament produced by the silkworm when constructing its cocoon. Silk is noted for both its strength and resiliency, along with its elegant appeal.
Skimmer – A flat shoe with a small heel.
Skort – A skort is a pair of women’s shorts with a flap of fabric in front to make it look like a skirt. However our Must-have Twill Skort also has a back flap of fabric too so it truly looks like a skirt.
Slide – A shoe featuring an open toe and open back with a band across the toe. Can be flat, mid-heel or high-heeled.
Sling-back – A shoe held on the foot with a strap at the back of the heel. The strap is typically elasticized or buckled for adjustment.
Smock – A dress that has a shoulder yoke with gathering for a full sweep
Smocked – An embroidered thread sewn on top of gathered folds of fabric. Most frequently smocking is used on the bodice to enhance the fit by visually whittling the waist.
Soft-Cup – With light support and a sleek, smooth appearance, soft cups give just the right amount of support for small to average-busted women.
Soutache – (Pronounced “sootash”). Woven, satin braid used as a decoration for dresses and suits.
Spaghetti Strap – A thin tubular strap that attaches to the bodice, named for its likeness to a strand of spaghetti.
Spandex – A man-made fiber that adds stretch. Always blended with other fibers as a little goes a long way, spandex improves fit and flexibility while enhancing durability and comfort. Ulla’s Stretch Knit Bottoms all have spandex in them.
Split Neck – A round neckline that looks like it has been cut in the center to form a small V.
Square Neck – This is a open-yoke neckline shaped in the form of a square.
Stacked Heel – A heel constructed from individual layers of leather or manmade material laminated together for strength, durability and pattern.
Stiletto – A pumps or slingback with a high narrow heel.
Straight Legs – Pant legs that are cut an equal width from the waist to ankles.
Stretch Cotton – A cotton fabric usually with spandex or Lycra® spandex for greater comfort, a better fit and superior wrinkle resistance.
String – A thong panty.
Suede – Leather that is buffed on the inside to raise a slight nap — giving it a textured appearance.
Sweetheart Neck – A graceful, open yoke, shaped like the top half of a heart.
Tanga – A high-cut panty.
Tank – A top similar to an undershirt with narrow straps, a U neck and deep armholes.
Tankini – A two-piece bathing suit with the upper portion resembling a tank top. A tankini provides the coverage of a maillot and the freedom of a bikini.
Tapered – A descriptive term for a shape or cut that becomes progressively narrower or thinner at one end. Tapered pants, for example, draw the eye away from the waistline and down to the narrower part of the leg and the ankle, for a slimming effect.
Tea Length – A dress hemmed to end at the shins.
Tee – Knit shirt with short or long set-in sleeves.
Tencel – It is 100% natural fibers made from wood pulp. It has ten times the strength of cotton and is extremely breathable and comfortable with an exceptionally soft hand.
Terry – An absorbent fabric with loops forming the plush pile; also called terry cloth.
Thong – A sandal held on the foot by a strap between the first and second toes.
Thong Panties – Briefs with a single strap back, V-shaped front and elastic waist.
Tie-Cinched Waist – The waist is pulled tight around the body with a tie.
Topline – The upper edge of a shoe.
Topstitching – Machine stitching showing on the right side of a garment for decorative effect.
Trapeze – A trapeze top is a top that’s fitted at the bust and gradually flares out into an A-line shape as it extends toward the hemline. Whether in the form of a tunic top or a dress, this simple shape balances most women’s proportions beautifully.
Trench – A waterproof overcoat styled along military lines.
Tube Top – A strapless top made with stretch fabric.
Tulle – A fine sheer net fabric.
Tumbled Leather – Soft leather with a slightly pebbled grain.
Tunic – Although “tunic” has been used to describe many items of clothing throughout history, the term currently refers to a shirt that is longer than average, usually about hip-length or a little longer.
Turtleneck – A high, close-fitting, turnover collar used especially for sweaters and knit tops.
Tweed – A coarse wool or synthetic fabric used chiefly for casual suits and coats.
Twill – Durable and tightly woven on the diagonal, the twill weave is most often seen in khakis, chinos and denim. Twill is typically made of cotton, but with the addition of spandex, it becomes stretch twill, a fabric that gently hugs the curves while maintaining its shape through many of washes.
Twin set – A cardigan over a matching sleeveless or short-sleeve top.
Two-Way Stretch – The quality of woven or knit garments made with spandex that enables them to stretch vertically and horizontally.
Vamp -The upper part of a shoe or boot covering the instep.
Variegated – Having streaks, marks, or patches of different colors – distinguished or characterized by a variety of different colors
Velcro® – Trademark for a closing consisting of a tape woven with minute nylon hooks that mesh with loops on an opposite tape. First used by astronauts.
Velour – Soft velvety thick pile fabric made of various fibers and yarns. Used primarily for coats, warm-up suits, knit shirts and dresses.
Velvet – A silky densely piled fabric with a plain back. This fabric is cut and brushed to form a soft, luxurious pile. A silk velvet blend is soft and supple.
Vest – Women’s vests have become an important clothing piece for women all over the world. They are sleeveless, usually with pockets, a variety of hems and either a button or zipper closure.
V-Neck/V-Back – An open yoke coming to a “V” shape midway down the bodice.
Viscose – This is one popular type of rayon. In addition to a supple feel and luster characteristic of rayon fabrics in general, viscose is soft yet strong, resists wrinkles and drapes well. Many of our tunics and blouse are made in 100% viscose rayon. This fabric is lightweight, airy and drapes beautifully.
Voile – Sheer or semi-sheer spun cloth that is lightweight and soft, though with a crisp hand. It is typically made from cotton, rayon or acetate.\
Waffle Stitch – A textured knit. Knit tops made using the waffle weave are a favorite for layering because they add textural interest and warmth without bulk.
Wedge Heel – A heel which extends from the back of the shoe to the ball of the shoe, following its controur.
Welt – A pocket that has a folded strip of material sewn into the front portion of the pocket. The welt extends upward from the seam.
Wide Leg – A flattering fit for pants or jeans. Cut extra full all through the leg, with a wider leg opening, so they’re comfortable not confining.
Wing Collar – A collar with projections that cover shoulder seams of bodices and doublets
Wrap/Surplice – A bodice created by the cross-wrapping of fabric; may be in front or back, and associated with a high or low neckline. An item that has a wrap design can close in a variety of ways from a small ribbon on the inside to a small button. In some cases it can even be a faux wrap or surplice styling as the items we have listed below.
Wrinkle Resistant – That property of a fabric that enables it to resist the formation of wrinkles through their weave or their chemical make-up. Certainly a desirable attribute, as it means easier care and a more polished look with no fuss.
Yarn-Dyed – Yarn that has been dyed prior to the weaving or knitting of the garment.
Yoke -The fitted top of a garment across the shoulders in front or back, usually a separate piece seamed across the front and back; sometimes lined.
Zepel® – Trademark of E. I. Du Pont for a compound used to make a fabric stain repellent.
Zip-In/Zip-Out Lining – A completely removable lining inserted into a coat or jacket by means of a zipper or buttons around the coat facing. Also called a shell.
While this is a short, quick read (105 pages), it’s also well written and rings true to life. Being a life-long crossdresser I have met many wives and this is an exceptional one in her adaption to something strange thrust on her as it is done far too often by those of us with gender disparity. It is the autobiographical account of a 40ish-year-old English married couple and how the husband’s out-of-the-blue confession to his wife that he is a crossdresser impacts their relationship. It is told by the wife, based on a journal she kept as she worked through the early days of coming to terms with this revelation. It is intelligent, insightful, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes heartwarming, and sometimes funny (darkly, ironically, or straightforwardly, depending on the episode); also brave and honest.
I was skeptical of the timeline in the book because it usually takes wives months and often years to accept or tolerate something that goes so much against the biological grain and cultural conditioning, but having had the opportunity to talk with Karen, her love of “Annie” and her insight into human nature helped her deal and yes perhaps even enjoy part of this journey of discovery, a situation that she handled more tactfully and sensitively than most wives.
Outcomes vary wildly because couples are all made up of unique individuals with their own personalities, tastes, values, turn-ons and turn-offs. This is a “best case” outcome that turned out that way because both partners worked hard to show mutual respect and support, neither focusing solely on their own wants and needs. She has found that this new dimension of their marriage provides opportunities for growth, exploration, sharing at newer and deeper levels than before, more fun, and in some important ways a fuller, richer, relationship. But at the same time, part of her wishes it had never happened and just wasn’t there, because of the high cost of learning to cope with all the pressures, confusion, roller-coaster emotions, and plain hard work that it took her to get to that place.
I would heartily recommend this book for any crossdressing husband or spouse/partner of such. It may or may not not provide any concrete answers to specific dilemmas faced by similar couples, but it could stimulate a helpful discussion between them, if such a thing is possible. I want to thank Tilda of the River City Gems for her contribution to this review and to Karen Adler for her response to my comments.
Sold by Amazon Bookstore, Something to Confess
This is a “must read” for both crossdressers and their wives. I related to this book on so many levels; first as a married crossdresser, then as a sailor, a small business owner, a writer, and lastly because I live in the tropics. It’s the story of Rae Ellen Lee and her husband Tom, now Rebekah Jane, written as a memoir by Rae Ellen of their years spent on St. Johns, Virgin Islands.
Paraphrased from Amazon, “Rae Ellen and Tom head for the Caribbean to open canvas goods shop and live the tropical paradise life. There is relentless hard work, endless bureaucratic frustrations and the challenges of living side by side with numerous creatures, inside ones home and out, from pet tarantulas to humongous spiders. But beyond this, there is Tom’s discovery that he is transgender, and Rae Ellen’s gradual understanding of how life-changing this discovery was to become. She is a master of description infused with emotion that brings the island of St. John to life introducing us to its beauty and to a variety of local characters. And as Rae Ellen and Tom’s life together unfolds, we come to know her courageous, generous, and compassionate heart. As in many things, the reality is so much more than the dream.”
We also get a look at St. John, Virgin Islands; its weather, the geography and the culture, which is as laid back as you might expect. If you ever wanted to know how canvas bags are made or what the life of a small business owner is like, you learn the details in spades.
The story overlays the basic conflict between Rae Ellen and her transgender husband and I can attest to the validity of the story through personal experience. We follow Tom’s desire to dress through the various milestones of evolution for a crossdresser, from early discovery to online support groups (Tri-Ess) through meeting other crossdressers and then dressing in public. All this has the expected emotional impact on Rae Ellen and we come to understand her thoughts and fears as she confronts the future and the likely demise of her marriage.
We see her confusion, anger, sickness and various unsuccessful attempts to deal with the issues confronting them both, even while Tom is often oblivious to what is happening to Rae Ellen. She wonders, “does anything I tell him register”. The dissolution of the marriage is cemented when we hear Rae Ellen say, “my particular symptoms can result from not feeling cared for and safe” as this is a basic tenet of male-female relationships. Her feelings towards her husband continue to diminish as his crossdressing becomes more and more the focus of their lives and what they too often talk about. At one point she says, “so how do you feel going through puberty dressed like a 1950s housewife’ I wouldn’t have married you if I known you’d evolve into someone else entirely” She views this transformation as a bait and switch, which is so often true for many crossdressers, who after denying themselves for many years, pursue their new found needs with vigor in later life.
The good is that they remain friends even after divorce. The unfortunate and heartbreaking truth is that two people who love each other must now begin to live their separate lives.
Great Blue Graphics, Publisher
Paperback edition: 6×9 format, 300 pages
ISBN 978-0-9619328-5-5, $14.95
E-book: ISBN 978-0-9619328-4-8, $4.99
Available from the publisher or Amazon My Next Husband Will Be Normal — A St. John Adventure
Having been raised as a teenager in the 50s, I’ve experienced most of these trends. And whereas my focus is on women’s fashion, the author takes a good poke at the guys too. Why this book is interesting is because so many of the fashions from past eras are being resurrected in today’s fashion. One can always say that Americans have no fashion sense and this book would certainly support our lack of taste. Of course I don’t agree with all of it. Mini-skirts, platform heels and track suits are not going away no matter how silly they look on some of us.
As a table book at a dinner party, it will certainly garner a lively conversation with a lot of laughs even as we laugh at ourselves. It’s worth picking up just for the humor as will be evidenced as you read the authors captions.
Amazon rates it at 4 stars. I give it 4.5 stars out of 5
From the History of the Bra by Gareth Marples
The history of the bra is indeed an uplifting story. And the facts here are backed with lots of support. These facts will keep you abreast of the lives and times of bras. There’s nothing to hide, so we’re revealing all the facts. There’s nothing unmentionable in this history. We’ll be up front with you when we present this interesting story. So let’s snap to reality and fill our cups with knowledge.
Around 2500 B.C., breasts were being admired. And that’s no surprise when you look at the men’s view of the women of those days. They adored them. In fact, they all but worshipped them. And the women, in tribute to all this attention, wore bras that lifted their breasts so much that they exposed them in all their splendor (at least, that’s how the men saw them).
Later, as Greek and Roman society grew more male-oriented, breasts were wrapped and flattened to minimize their size. And not only the women, but the men, too. But a pattern had started to develop – the use of bras changed with men’s attitudes towards the female bosom.
This pattern continued throughout the ages, with breasts being bared, or not, in exact ratio to men’s attitudes of the times. Women were at the mercy of the fashion of the day – usually decided by men.
During the 19th century, women were starting to “stand up” for themselves. They were tired of being told what they should or shouldn’t wear. They wanted freedom, and that included their fashion styles. So women began a movement for more comfortable underwear than the trussed and bound look of the corsets of the day. And as these new creations came on the market, patents ran wild. Since granting the first patent for a ‘corset substitute’ in 1863, the U.S. government has registered over 1,200 patents of breast supporters. That’s a lot of support for bras.
One example of those patents came in 1893 when Marie Tucek patented the “breast supporter”, which had separate pockets for the breasts, with straps over the shoulders, and fastened by hook-and-eye closures at the back. Sound pretty much like the bras of today, doesn’t it?
Another 19th-century development was “falsies”. The first ones were pads made of wool, which were put inside the boned bodice. Later in that century, French women were able to buy rubber breast pads, called “lemon bosoms” – their name describes them well. Padded bras were now accepted.
1913 saw the debut of the first modern brassiere. It was created by Mary Phelps Jacobs, who got so annoyed at the bones of her corset sticking out around her neckline that she covered them with a couple of silk handkerchiefs and some ribbon and attached it all together with some cords. Her friends loved the idea and those who expressed their admiration of this lightweight fashion were given one to try out.
Many people asked her to share her idea, but when she got a letter from a stranger, with a dollar and a request for her “contraption”, she drew the line. She immediately sent sketches of her design to the patent office. The patent was granted in November, 1914 for the “Backless Brassiere”. Mary named her new creation the Caresse Crosby. The bra was here to stay (even though it didn’t have stays, like the corset).
But Mary’s talents were in fashion design, not business, and she had a hard time managing her venture. So she decided to sell her patent to Warner Brothers Corset Company for $1,500. That turned out to be a pretty good investment for Warner because, over the next 30 years, it earned the company over $15 million.
Up until the creation of the bra, “intimate apparel” had consisted of heavily-boned, tight-laced corsets. They may have been recognized as intimate to the men, but the women found them extremely uncomfortable. The bra brought with it a whole new attitude to women’s underwear. It was indeed now an item of intimate apparel.
Mary Jacobs had started the ball rolling. Innovations began to develop as women found their new freedom of movement very liberating. A bra, girdle and stockings were a very sexy look, and gave women a new self-confidence. Then, with the introduction of elastic fabric in the 1920s, the bra industry took off. In the 1930’s, the strapless or backless bra came out. And then it was the standardization of cup sizes – now women could get a bra that truly fit comfortably.
By 1928, entrepreneurs William and Ida Rosenthal took the bra to its next stage by introducing cup sizes and bras for all stages of a women’s life. Her creation eventually turned into the start of one of the most well-known intimate apparel companies today – Maidenform. Several year’s later, Warner added the A to D sizing system which became the standard in 1935.
During the roaring Twenties, with it’s flat-chested boyish look, Ida Rosenthal’s invention wasn’t too popular. However, Ida had spunk, and she continued to promote her bust-flattering bras. With her idea of sizing, she could now market bras to girls and women of every age, from puberty to maturity. A huge advantage to this plan was brand loyalty – if she could get teens to wear training bras, then they’d stay with Maidenform as they developed and grew. She’d have a customer for life! This idea became the foundation of a $40 million Maidenform industry.
In the 1960’s, with female emancipation rampant, and women burning their bras in revolt, the bra industry took a heavy hit. But Ida Rosenthal, with the same enthusiasm and stick-to-it-tiveness that she’d displayed before, wasn’t deterred. She was asked how this burning of bras would affect her business. Her reply was, “We’re a democracy. A person has the right to be dressed or undressed. But after age 35, a woman hasn’t got the figure to wear no support. Time’s on my side.” And indeed it was – look at the industry today.
Maidenform led the way in the bra industry. Their ad campaign, “I dreamed I…” did very well. The seed was planted – women could be anything they wanted if they wore a Maidenform Bra. The image was secured. The bra had become not only a method of supporting the breasts, but of displaying them in a variety of stages of dress and undress, all with the goal of making a woman look sexier.
But practicality was important, too. Different types of bras were designed for different types of women’s activities. If you were pregnant, you could buy maturnity bras. After you had your baby, you could buy a nursing bra. After you finished nursing, and before you lost your “baby weight”, you could buy a full figured bra.
And for those women who were a little bigger than most, there were plus size bras. And not only plus size bras, but plus size lingerie and girdles – whole outfits for those voluptuous women who some men found so attractive.
For the active women, there were athletic sports bra, giving extra support. For those evening gowns, there were strapless bras and backless bras to complement the beautifully-adorned woman at the formal gathering. And the teenage girl could proudly say, “Hey, I got my first bra.” And training bras would help her adjust as she grew and matured and got ready for regular bras.
Women with darker skin were targeted in advertising, by being offered dark colored bras – tan, black, brown – to help them feel comfortable and natural. And for those women who like to step a little on the daring side, there are see through shear bras, and all kinds of sexy, intimate bras and apparel that could be used to complement sexy lingerie.
The list goes on. Women have indeed some a long way in their freedom for fashion. They had to live through the days of tightly-cinching themselves to look good. Now they can look good in any surrounding, in any environment. Wherever a woman goes these days, whatever she does, there’s a bra to suit her activity.
Finally, let’s take a visual look at bras from every fashion era
For more History on Bras, check out the following resources:
History of Brassieres from Wikipedia
Bras and Girdles from Fashion-Era.com
Bra History from EBraetc.com
History of Bras from Mrbra.com