Dina’s Diner 3/9/20

| Mar 9, 2020
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Ivana Fischer

During February, Black History Month, there were several articles about African-American hair and what it means in today’s culture. One such article I saw on The Huffington Post website addressed black trans women’s hair by Ivana Fischer.

The focus on black hair seems to have been spurred by some recent incidents where black people were chastised or discriminated against because of their hair. One notorious incident happened when a black high school wrestler had his hair shorn at the match because the referee wouldn’t let him wrestle with his natural locks. Black women have said they have felt pressure to hide their natural hair in the workplace.

Ivana notes that black women have used wigs, weaves, extensions and straighteners for decades. Part of those attempts to camouflage their natural hair is that it has a history of disparagement. Ivana writes: “However, Black hair — often described as unkempt, animalistic and coarse — is often not given the necessary flexibility to exist in its natural state. It is called “nappy” in comparison to the white woman’s “messy.” The comment “Nappy headed ho’s” got a nationally prominent white radio personality fired several years ago but it was a phrase already recognizable in our culture.

Ivana writes that natural black hair appears too masculine for transitioning African-American women so they favor the enhancements of wigs or other applications to give them more volume. “So I clung to wigs and weaves. I reveled in the (bad) extensions and the butt-length braids. I did everything I could to hide my natural hair from the world, so as to not get ridiculed and taunted. Truth be told, it worked for a while. However, whatever solace I found in these devices quickly turned into extreme disgust of my natural hair.”

She also points out — as we have read many times — that being read as a transitioning black woman is a dangerous, potentially life threatening, risk. Nevertheless, as a convert to natural hair, Ivana encourages other black trans women to join her. “The sooner we are able to accept the ferocious elegance that comes with being Black and natural, the sooner we can change the negative rhetoric surrounding our lovely locks. Despite what society tries to tell us about our looks, let it be known that a Black woman’s natural beauty is valid. And Black trans women’s natural beauty is valid, too.”


I came across an internet post about a series of viral videos on the platform TikTok by a character named Rosa. The photo of Rosa showed a chubby female face with comically mis-applied false eyelashes. In fact, one eyelash was actually glued on upside down, which is sort of her trademark look. It still makes me laugh to look at that and appreciate the genius behind the persona. Turns out that Rosa is the creation of 20 year old Adam Martinez whose online handle is @AdamRayOkay.


The website StayHipp.com introduced Adam and Rosa this way: “Adam Martinez is known for his persona Rosa: a gregarious teenager who’s always gossiping or asking her classmates for favors. Adam’s Rosa videos typically follow the format of Point Of View videos in which Rosa talks to the camera as if in conversation with viewers. Rosa’s signature look includes acrylic nails, unblended contour makeup, a t-shirt on her head, and loosely attached false eyelashes.”

The website wrote further, “In an interview, Adam Martinez shared about his development of Rosa, saying “Rosa is just somebody that everybody happens to know, whether it’s through school, through a friend, they just all have met somebody like her,” and “So I thought, ‘why don’t I just bring her back and let her shine?’”

The videos are pretty short and cover one-sided conversations like “give me a dollar” and “I got drunk on a school night.” Adam definitely seems to be channeling the way certain girls talk. Her videos have spawned tribute videos from fans. I don’t think Adam is trans and I don’t think the ridiculous Rosa is even akin to a drag act. It reminds me a little bit of Martin Lawrence’s ShaNayNay character on his old TV show.

I hope this will be a launching pad for Adam. People with much less to offer have turned their online outpourings into fame and dollars. Rosa and whatever else Adam has in his bag of tricks should be rewarded as well.


The algorithmic folks at Pinterest.com suggested I might like a photo series about drag queens in Kansas City circa 1970. That is a helluva specific suggestion to present but dammit if they weren’t right. The Pinterest link took me to an article in a section of New York Magazine called The Cut. The specific article and pictorial was titled Private Birthday Party: Rare Photos from Kansas City’s Drag Scene.

You don’t normally think of Kansas City having a drag scene but I guess every city did to one degree or another. Such is the enduring appeal of drag, especially in the shadows in which gay culture had to operate in the post-war years through the 1970s. The story of the photos is interesting. A guy bought a bunch of old slides at a flea market and many of these photos were in that bunch. Two years later, the fellow’s friend found another box of slides while helping a friend move in a Kansas City neighborhood. When the two compared the photos on the slides, they could tell that they were taken by the same photographer and showed many of the same events and drag queens. The title Private Birthday Party is a nod to the signs that gay bars would place on their doors when they hosted drag tea dances. It was illegal in the city at that time for same sex partners to dance in public. The “Private” sign kept out all but those patrons who were in the know.

Attendees at a “private birthday party.”

The photos themselves show vintage drag of the late 1960s style with lacquered wigs, fitted gowns, and short stiletto pumps. Most of the photos show guys in drag hanging out at the events. It wasn’t all drag show performers so there is a subtext of just good old crossdressing fun as well. The photos are reminiscent of the Casa Susanna photos that were discovered (in similar accidental circumstances) several years ago.

We’ve all seen black and white photos of the famous post-war drag queens posing for publicity shots. It’s interesting to see these photos and read the backstory to get a flavor of how it might have been to crossdress during that era. Maybe in forty or fifty years, someone will find Angela Gardner’s electronic shoebox full of her Laptop Lounge event photos and marvel at how “vintage” crossdressers from the 2000s looked and dressed. And so on, and so on. Everything keeps rolling forward.


I saw a post from a cosplayer named Nikki Gee that I liked quite a bit for all the obvious reasons. Before the Instagram cosmetic influencers came on the scene, cosplayers were good sources for interesting makeup application. I’m not a gamer or comic superhero aficionado so I don’t know one fantasy character from another but I appreciate the efforts of the talented cosplayers.

Nikki Gee seems to have an interesting take on cosplaying in that she uses her busty, zaftig figure to create a caricature of the characters she portrays. Velma from Scooby Doo is a popular female cosplay character but I never saw a Velma with spilling cleavage until I came across Nikki Gee’s interpretation. What’s not to like about that?

Busty cosplay.

Nikki’s niche is the busty version of many characters. Want to know what Pikachu would look like with cleavage? Also assorted Manga characters with deep décolletage, even George Washington re-imagined with fantastic hooters to lead the troops. Her Instagram page is worth checking out. Searching her name also yields lots of images of her cosplays.

On a subscription fan page, Nikki wrote this: “I have been cosplaying since May of 2018 and it’s been an incredible journey. Helping me through severe anxiety, moments of depression, and lots of weird social quirks. I am so grateful to this hobby for making me feel like myself again.” She mentions elsewhere that she is working on weight issues and the challenge of cosplaying as a larger girl probably helps motivate her in that endeavor.

Dressing up and playing with makeup has improved the mindset of many crossdressers and trans people through the ages. The cosplayers like Nikki are another group who have benefited as well.


One day the name Mean Mary Jean popped into my head. Back in the 1970s, Chrysler Corp. employed a young actress they called Mean Mary Jean to promote the Plymouth Duster model.

Mean Mary Jean was a pigtailed wholesome all-American girl who wore denim shorts and football jerseys and appeared in regionalized ads with local sports stars. In the Philadelphia market, she did commercials with Eagles linebacker Bill Bergey. The image of Mean Mary Jean wasn’t overtly sexy but that edgy mix of wholesome beauty, tomboyishness, and new cars got a lot of motors running. “Mary Jean” in real-life was actress Judy Strangis who I discovered was in the television series Room 222 which featured another of my teen crushes, the sweet-faced Karen Valentine.

Mean Mary Jean

The nostalgia trip with Mean Mary Jean made me think of another woman who appeared in print ads for fitness equipment in the late 1970s — Lona Dion. These were local ads in the Philadelphia market and featured Lona in a leotard and stiletto heeled mules or slides (very popular at that time). Besides her super slim shape, Lona had exotic features and a mass of wavy hair. These commercials and advertisements appeared during the age when I was becoming aware of crossdressing. While I never wanted to wear Mary Jean’s denim shorts, I certainly wanted to slip into Lona’s sexy high heels.

One last memory of almost forgotten ad women came back to me for this item. There was some kind of auto accessory ad that featured “Donna Young, an X-rated actress.” I think the product had a name like “X-tra-something” hence the “X-rated” ad angle. Donna appeared in X-rated (now likely Hard-R rated) movies like Naughty Stewardesses and Ilsa, She Devil of the SS (under the name Donna Desmond). Donna Young was just wearing an over-long white t-shirt in the ad so it was pretty G-rated in fact. But this ad also occurred when I was still too young to go to an adult film (and ten years before the VCR boom) so the contrast between Donna’s clean appearance and the naughty business she was in made me aware there was another secret kinky world out there. Thanks, Donna.

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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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