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Dina’s Diner 2/16/15

| Feb 16, 2015
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There have been some news events over the past year — and some very recently — that have made me think about transgender women and their acceptance in society. The news events I refer to have not been uplifting developments but tragic or scandalous happenings that may say as much about the acceptance of trans women as those things we point to that are obviously positive.

On February 11, 2015, news broke that a Texas College (not U. of Texas) football player had murdered a transgender female whom he was dating. One story said the murder had to do with sexual favors and the victim’s revelation of her biological sex. The interesting fact was that they were dating for a short but significant time before the tragedy.

In October 2014, a U.S. Marine allegedly murdered a transgender Filipina woman, Jennifer Laude, in Manila whom he met in a nightclub. After going to a motel room together, he murdered her in a violent attack. The implication was that there were sexual favors expected and a revelation of the woman’s biological sex prompted the attack. The U.S. has agreed to let the Marine be tried in a Philippine court after a huge public outcry that the Marine might be shielded by the military.

Ava Sabrina London

Ava Sabrina London

Some time last year, former NFL player Hank Baskett was “caught” in some form of tryst with transsexual Ava Sabrina London. At the time (and still, I believe), Baskett was married to former Playboy Playmate and Hugh Hefner “co-wife” Kendra Wilkinson. There was no crime here — just some old-fashioned adultery with a modern twist. I think Baskett may have trotted out some reason why he was having a thing with a transsexual but other than some initial shock, no great fallout has taken place.

Thinking farther back, there was the story many years ago about comedian Eddie Murphy picking up a transgender sex worker. Even farther back, there was the rumor (eventually confirmed) that singer Teddy Prendergrass had a transgender female in his car when he wrecked it and became paralyzed as a result. The story of transsexual Calpernia Addams, whose boyfriend was murdered by some fellow soldiers (perhaps out of jealousy on the part of one of the assailants) in 1999, is another instance of “straight” males who find themselves attracted to transgender women.

Unfortunately, many of the stories we hear about are tragedies as in the above cases. But the occurrence of the phenomenon is certainly in easy evidence on the Internet and no doubt in private romances that neither result in tragedy nor fairy-tale endings. Just like most relationships. And judging by the evolution of transgender beauty it is likely to be the next frontier in transgender acceptance. The transwomen in the instances above are physically attractive and appealing to males in the same way any woman would be. When the idea of dating a transgender person — before or after surgery — becomes something men can handle more openly, resistance to trans rights will drop even faster than they have so far.


Bruce Jenner transitionThe saga of Bruce Jenner’s gender transition is supposed to be coming to some type of climax. Rumored for a long time, then teased in the press, apparently it has not actually been officially announced that Jenner is transitioning to female.

For awhile, his change in facial appearance could have been chalked up to a facelift of the sort that makes a lot of male recipients appear more feminine. But then there was the hair growth and nail polish which is supposed to be setting us up for the big reveal later this spring. After living in the fishbowl of the Kardashian household for all these years, I read that Bruce is now going to get his own reality show based on his transition. How can we tell anything is real if it’s not on television?

The thing that struck me about Jenner’s transition story is that he is now 65 years old. I’m all in favor of transitioning whenever the individual feels like it. It’s a shame that so many transgender males (and females too although they seem less numerous) from the generation or two before the LGBT movement gained ground are at a somewhat advanced age to begin their transitions. Let’s face it, when a twenty-something androgyne like Andrej Pejic announces he will become Andreja it is easier to understand than someone who is old enough to collect Social Security.

And then I wonder what poor Bruce was sublimating all these years. He was 26 or 27 years old when he won Olympic gold in 1976. He was married to a certified beauty, actress Linda Thompson, in the late 1970s into the 1980s. Then he was living in a house full of narcissistic female sexpot Kardashians for the last part of his life. There must have been a crossdressing phase at some point. How did he keep that under wraps within a celebrity lifestyle? In some respects, the money and fame should make it easier to be yourself. But then, your continued fortune depends on public acceptance. The old conundrum.

I wish Bruce good luck with whatever he decides to do. I hope it doesn’t turn into a circus of reality TV. Maybe the best thing would be if the transition is so ho-hum people get bored and tune out. It could help “normalize” the process if it is as tedious as the rest of everyone else’s lives.


Lotte Hass

Lotte Hass

The New York Times obituary section carried a biographical notice about the death in Vienna, Austria of Lotte Baierl Hass in the January 31, 2015 edition. Mrs. Hass was 86 years old when she passed away. The Times obituary referred to her life story as Sea Diver and Filmmaker. The obit also included an undated photograph of Lotte (quite beautiful) with her dashing husband and film partner, Hans Hass.

The obituary was interesting, telling as it did, of a young Viennese woman who answered a help wanted ad for a secretarial position. The job was posted by her future husband who was already making underwater films of exotic diving expeditions. This was sometime in 1947, mind you. Lotte Baierl (her maiden name) would have been approximately 18 or 19 years old. Once hired, she began asking Hans to accompany him on his filming expeditions. Reluctantly, he allowed her to come along. Eventually, she began diving with him. He used her beauty and athletic shape as an underwater model in the diving films. The Times reported that “She began her career by literal immersion as an underwater model, diving amid coral reefs, barracuda and sharks, wearing a revealing bathing suit instead of the customary wet suit. Over time she learned to wield an underwater camera and shot footage for some of [her husband, Hans’] films.”

By the mid-1950s, they were married and starring together in the films, on Eurpoean television, and in magazine features about the glamorous, adventurous couple. The Times obituary said this: “Often called the first lady of diving, Ms. Hass was known in equal measure for her intrepid adventures and her striking good looks.” The Daily Mail [British newspaper] once described her as “one of the most beautiful women who has ever prowled under the sea with a spear.” Times critic Bosley Crowther, wrote in a 1952 review of the Hass film Under the Red Sea that “it seems to be the full athletic figure of the young lady, Lotte Baierl, on whom the underwater cameras are focused with the most consistent regularity. This is not in the least disconcerting.”

Lotte Hass Girl On the Ocean FloorThe Times further reported, “After she became known to international filmgoers through her appearances [in the documentaries], Ms. Hass reportedly turned down offers from Hollywood in order to stay beneath the sea.” Lotte eventually published an autobiography Girl on the Ocean Floor in the early 1970s. She was inducted into the diving hall of fame in 2000. Her husband, Hans, died in 2013.

It seemed an interesting trajectory of a life for a young woman in post-war landlocked Austria. To seek a job as a secretary — a very traditional career path — then to transform herself into a well-known undersea diver and filmmaker. It never hurts to be physically attractive, of course, but plenty of beautiful women sublimated their own hopes to gender norms and traditional expectations in that era. The story of personal transformation — whatever the pathway, whichever the endpoints — is always interesting and inspirational.


Anyone old enough to remember that book title about airline stewardesses in the 1960s can appreciate the lament for the boring uniform redesigns by modern day airlines that appeared in The New York Times recently. The Times‘ Business section on January 6, 2015 had an article headlined “Fading to Gray” about the utilitarian approach to flight attendant attire.

As The Times article and photo illustrations point out, the fashions that were once worn by stewardesses included “mod” designs by Emilio Pucci, Oleg Cassini and Halston. Air travel in the 1960s was still an elite mode of transportation when the term “jet age” meant state-of-the-art. Airlines seemed to embrace their place on the cutting edge and one expression of that was uniforming their flight attendants in designer smocks, caps and boots that accented the popular concept of the stewardesses as thoroughly modern career girls. When there were more airlines competing, the sex appeal of the stewardesses (as they were called almost exclusively in those days) was one way to differentiate an airline in marketing campaigns. I found a website that celebrated stewardesses of this bygone era and most of the photos were from airline advertisements in which their service and stewardesses were featured.

1960s Southwest Stewardesses,

1960s Southwest Stewardesses,

The Times article points out that several factors contributed to the “decline” in flight attendants’ stylishness. The consolidation of the industry with so many individual operators either being swallowed up or folding up is one. As the flight attendants grew older in their jobs (and became more vocal about their employee rights), it became less practical to promote young, “hip,” and sexy attendants. Culturally, that also came to be frowned upon. And the job itself is viewed as more of a physical labor job (pushing heavy carts, messing with carry-ons, dealing with unruly passengers) than the smiling, cocktail and pillow serving conception of years gone by.

A Google image search for “sexy stewardess” pulls up hundreds of photos from real stewardesses of the past to more modern depictions from Halloween costumes and fetish cosplay creations. If I remember correctly, Playboy magazine had regular if not annual photo features of flight attendants who would bare all or almost all to be in those famous pages. The retro interest prompted by Mad Men, the films Catch Me if You Can and View from the Top, the recent stage version of the madcap ’60s farce Boeing, Boeing and the short-lived series Pan Am all trade on the old image of the “anything’s possible” stewardess. Korean Air is running commercials that feature attractive flight attendants to accent the experience of their service. But that is an anomaly in modern airline ads.

The Times opens its article by questioning the recent uniform redesign of American Airlines — a color palette of charcoal gray accented with lighter shades (though not fifty shades) of gray. How far have we fallen? Well, let’s hope they never fall completely out of the sky.

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Category: Transgender Community News, 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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