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Dina’s Diner 10/22/18

| Oct 22, 2018
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Madison Paige

The New York Times had a long article about non-binary young people and how their growing presence is gaining the attention of businesses. The paper edition of the Times headlined the article “The Market Embraces Fluidity’s Allure” while the online version was a little more blunt with “For Capitalism, Every Social Leap Forward is a Marketing Opportunity.”

The article reported on the non-binary lives of models Terra Juano and Madison Paige, both twenty-somethings born as females who represent the gender fluid lifestyle. The Times mentions that both of their modeling careers became decidedly more successful once their “either-or” looks started to match marketers’ target audiences. “A lot of brands are taking this leap now and changing how you see what a woman is supposed to be,” Terra Juano said, pulling on a long-neck beer. “I like changing the image of me to what I’m supposed to be and not what you think I am.”

The Times reported further, “The embrace of non-binary identity in commercial realms is far from being a diversity ploy by the fashion industry or yet another trip to gender-bending’s reliable costume trunk. There is more at work here, in other words, than Gucci sending girlie boys onto its runways dressed in frilly frocks or brands straining to appear woke.”

“There is not one idea of beauty or gender anymore,” the star hairdresser Guido Palau said. The point, he added, is that fashion must open itself up to a plurality that makes no insistence on “being a woman or a man when you can be everything and anything in between.”

The article also profiled Jacob Tobia, “by self-definition an AMAB (“assigned male at birth”) transfeminine non-binary person.” Mx. Tobia (the Times used the new pronoun type also) prefers combining gender markers and the Times sub-headed Tobia’s section “Affirming Sissy Power.” The article reported, “That it cannot have been easy going for Mx. Tobia to regain and inhabit an identity long submerged, was made clear by the sidelong glances and titters from museum-goers, who seemed perplexed by the sight of anomalously paired gender markers that may have seemed jarring: a hairy chest, heels, dime store sunglasses, a floral minidress.”

I must admit, I just don’t get the hairy legs and two-day beard with a babydoll dress. I don’t object to it; I just don’t feel it. As for the gender fluid movement, I’m all for it but focusing on the success of fashion models, hairstylists, and the like hardly convinces me it is as widespread as the Times makes it seem.


Mark Volman in 200 Motels.

I was watching a YouTube clip from the film 200 Motels and it included a brief glimpse of singer Mark Volman in semi-drag. To give some background, 200 Motels was a strange, psychedelic 1971 movie created by musician Frank Zappa ostensibly about the life of touring rock musicians in his band the Mothers of Invention. Volman was one of the group’s vocalists.

Mark Volman was a big guy with a long mop of curly hair and sort of a baby face. (He was also a vocalist for the Turtles of Happy Together fame). Anyway, in one of the movie’s many strange scenes, Volman is wearing a bra and leading a procession of torch-bearing followers. Mark’s natural fatty breasts filled the bra cups and with his long hair he made a more-than-passable, even attractive, fat woman.

I guess you’re not supposed to say “fat” anymore. So, he made a good-looking, body-positive chick. Uh-oh, scratch that, too. Well, you get my drift.

When the movie Pink Flamingos came out and photos of its star, Divine, were everywhere to be found, I was strangely attracted to her. I was in my teens and didn’t really understand my feelings completely but there was something about all that “female” flesh packed into her tight clothing, propped on stiletto heels, and topped by a giant wig that pushed the same buttons as seeing a real female in similar attire.

Denise, large & lovely.

I still remember two long ago news stories that featured full-figured queens. The company that made snack cakes called “Little Debbie” was suing a drag queen who used the same name. The photo of the en femme, plus-size Debbie was appealing in the same way I thought of Divine. The New York Times had an article some twelve years ago about how drag queens find women’s shoes that large enough to fit. The article had a photo of a pretty, plump drag queen from Kentucky named Nicole Diamond that — a dozen years later — is still living rent free in my head.

As in all things related to beauty, there are those that “have” it and those that don’t. Sporting a beer belly does not a big beautiful woman make. Naturally plump or husky fellows with talent can create a female image that is literally bigger and perhaps better than its biological counterpoint. Apple cheeks, a soft jawline, pushed up cleavage, and zaftig curves can be as appealing presented correctly as the sharp angles of slimmer women or slimmer guys in drag.

Body-positive crossdressers? Positively!


Freddie Oversteegen

The New York Times had an obituary for a 92 year old Dutch woman in the September 26, 2018 edition. What was so special about her, you ask? The obituary’s headline read “Freddie Oversteegen, Last of Nazi-Killing Trio of Dutch Women.”

Freddie, her sister Truus Oversteegen, and a female law student, Hanna Schaft, became resistance operatives in German-occupied Holland during World War II. They famously lured and executed German soldiers and Dutch Nazi collaborators and sheltered persecuted Jews during the occupation.

Freddie and her sister Truus were only 14 and 16 years old when they began their deadly resistance work in 1940. The Germans put a bounty on the heads of the teen sisters but they were never caught. Hanna, their older compatriot, was captured and executed by the Germans just 18 days before Holland’s liberation in 1945.

The Times reports this quote from one of Freddie’s earlier interviews about her deadly involvement in the resistance. “Yes, I’ve shot a gun myself and I’ve seen them fall. We had to do it. It was a necessary evil.”

The Oversteegen sisters and Ms. Schaft (and others) remind us that being a woman isn’t all stockings and high heels and getting our makeup just so. How many of us — really — would put our lives on the line as they did?


Shaobo Han

I saw an article on the news and culture site with the headline “More Men are Wearing Stilettos — If They Can Find Their Size.” The item appeared on October 3, 2018. Sounds encouraging, I thought. But after reading the whole thing I didn’t see quite the boomlet implied by the headline.

One fellow, Shaobo Han, seems like a genuine aficionado of stilettos judging by his Instagram page. But he is also a partner in a stilettos-for-men e-commerce site, Syro (, so he is not just a mere foot soldier in the men’s stiletto offensive.

The other person prominently featured is a fashion stylist and grad student named William Graper. I believe William is also a true stiletto wearer but his Instagram shows a number of oddball outfits so it’s not like he is the man in the gray flannel suit with a pair of Jimmy Choo’s under his pant cuffs.

While the article didn’t convince me that the golden age of men’s stilettos was just around the corner, it did make some other points. “At RuPaul’s DragCon, many queens teetered in stilettos at the event, but changed into sneakers for their commute home from the Javits Center [in Manhattan].” Perhaps they switched shoes for comfort, or maybe because they didn’t want to deal with stares on the subway — either way, it showed that for many, heels are still considered costume. The same person who may snap and “YASSS” watching a queen do a split in her Steve Maddens may look away, uncomfortable, when a trans woman walks to work in them.”

The article made a similar point with this comment: “Cisgender women are encouraged to wear heels — if rom-com cliches are to be believed, the average girl basically lives in patent black stilettos. The same cannot be said for male-presenting humans. Even in New York, a city where you can openly sob on the subway and be left alone, people will openly gawk over a man in heels. They’ll catcall. They’ll sneer. They’ll snap not-so-covert photos.”

“It’s really hard to have to choose expression over privacy or safety,” Shaobo Han admitted.”

Nothing we didn’t already know or live through in our crossdressing careers but it’s nice to see the difficulties we still face mentioned in a major media outlet.


This being the Halloween season I guess soon the streets and parties will be filled with French Maids, sexy witches, Dominatrixes, and the occasional Playboy Bunny. And that’s just the middle school girls!

Cammy White cosplay.

I was born a little too early to get into the video game scene but several years ago I came across a photo of a young lady cosplaying the character Cammy White from a popular video game series, Street Fighter. This is from a Wikipedia entry describing Cammy: “a fighter with a slender yet muscular body. She has long blonde hair which she usually wears in two braided pigtails, blue eyes and a scar on her left cheek. In Super Street Fighter II, she is shown wearing a green sleeveless thong leotard, a red beret, red gloves and black boots.” The entry goes on to say that there are several different uniforms and color schemes for Cammy in the multiple sequels.

If you look up Cammy White cosplayers, you will find young women dressed in these various Cammy looks. The one constant (I am happy to report) is that they all seem to feature the thong leotard. Most of the cosplayers wear sheer or flesh-tone tights to give them the soft leg sheen for their animated hero come to life.

I am partial to a nice behind in a thong leotard and tights. (Who isn’t?) So for my money, the Cammy White creation is in the Hall of Fame for dress-up play and any woman (or crossdresser!) who wants to give it a go this Halloween . . . send photos.

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Category: Transgender Fun & Entertainment, Transgender Opinion


About the Author ()

I started crossdressing and going out publicly in 1988. I joined the Renaissance group in the Philadelphia area that year and later became chapter leader for two years in the '90s. I always enjoyed writing and wrote for the Renaissance newsletter and magazine throughout my membership years. I've been writing for TGForum for several years now. I also contributed items to LadyLike magazine and other TG publications before the advent of the internet. My hobby-within-a-hobby is singing live as my alter-ego Dina Sinatra and I have had the opportunity to do that with several accommodating performers and in a number of venues over the years since the mid-1990s. In the Diner column items here, I try to relate crossdressing or transgender themes (and my own pet peeves and fetishes) to the larger world -- and vice versa.

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