Dina’s Diner October 21, 2019

| Oct 21, 2019
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The London Sunday Times magazine had an excerpt from an autobiography by Amrou Al-Kadhi, who performs as drag character Glamrou. It appeared in the September 29, 2019 edition. Amrou’s soon-to-be-released book is titled, Unicorn, The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen.


The excerpt in the Sunday Times described how the young Amrou was influenced by his glamorous mother and how she navigated the restrictive Muslim culture to enjoy lively evenings with her female friends while the husbands smoked and drank in “square masculinity” in another part of the house.

Whether it is nature or nurture, the beautiful mother offered a glimpse into a more interesting world of beauty for her impressionable son. “Mama treated every public appearance like a magazine cover shoot. At school events she would arrive in Gucci cowboy boots and Missoni hat. When it was just me and Mama, we created a pocket of ‘camp’ that only we were privy to. And it was in this special fortress that my love of performance was born.”

That was during the formative years in Dubai and Bahrain. When the family moved to England, Amrou attended Eton and Cambridge. It was at Cambridge that Amrou created a drag show and the character of Glamrou. “When I created Glamrou, I replaced my long-felt invisibility with ultra-visibility and it told the world that I loved being me. It told the world that I was proud to be queer.”

Amrou identifies as a trans person and uses the “they, their” pronouns for self-reference. So their experience is deeper than just as a drag performer. Amrou addresses the challenge of being “out” all the time as a transgender person in the Muslim community. “Your parents impress upon you the need to uphold a set of behaviors and principles because they too had to sacrifice their identities to these structures. The delicate house of mirrors is kept stable because of the silent assumption that everyone in the room will play along and keep the fantasy alive. Paradoxically, for me to perform in an identity so unashamedly ‘artificial’ was a threat to a community who depended on unacknowledged artificiality.”

Amrou relates a meeting with their mother who finally said – after meeting Amrou for lunch out: “You should wear what makes you happy.”


I saw an article about plaintiff’s attorney Carrie Goldberg in Mother Jones, an online magazine, on August 30, 2019. Here are the first sentences of the article: “Listen up, assholes. Carrie Goldberg is coming for you. Since founding her law firm in 2014, the defiant, trash-talking New York lawyer has built a reputation for going after sexual predators from Harvey Weinstein to anonymous trolls and purveyors of nonconsensual pornography.”

Carrie Goldberg

Ms. Goldberg was herself the target of a psycho ex-boyfriend who threatened to post intimate photos online and spread false rumors about her to friends and colleagues. That experience led her to become one of the leading advocates for victims of “revenge porn” and other forms of intimidating harassment.

She is known now as an aggressive activist for her clients seeking protection from “psychos, pervs and trolls.” This is a quote from the Mother Jones interview: “A lot of people think it’s crude to put a price on suffering. And, of course, it doesn’t undo the harm. But in this world we live in, money buys power. A client, even if she doesn’t want the money, can donate to an organization that fights for the things that she values, or she can donate it to a political candidate. A lot of people are sheepish when it comes to admitting, even when they’re in my office, that, yeah, I want to sue that motherfucker. I want all his money. And I’m like, good. Cause that’s what we’re going to do.”

As noble as Goldberg’s cause is, I hate to admit that the reason I became interested was her appearance and the stiletto heels she seems to favor in all her photos. In another magazine profile, Carrie addressed the question about her fashionable attire and those high heels. “I represent victims of non-consensual porn and also sexual assault. In both cases, there is so much victim-blaming. With sexual assault: Why did you wear that? Why did you go to that party? With non-consensual porn: Why did you take that picture? Why didn’t you wear anything? The power to make autonomous choices over how we look and how we dress and when we undress and what we do when we’re naked — that’s all a fundamental right. It’s armor, the nails and the heels and the eyelashes. I think being underestimated is a super power, because then you can catch people by surprise. If being interested in fashion and my appearance is going to cause people to underestimate me, then let them. I’m not going to tone stuff down or try to fit in just to appear like a more serious threat. I know I’m a threat.”

Both of the articles I saw about Carrie referenced her chic wardrobe — particularly her shoes. New York Magazine’s profile sub-headed the article, “Carrie Goldberg sees her 6-inch stilettos as armor.” The Mother Jones article punned, “This lawyer is bringing the internet’s worst men to heel.”

Crossdressers are often judged incorrectly because of how they are dressed. The assumption is that a “sexy” outfit is an invitation for sexual or aggressive come-ons from admirers. We know that our mode of dress is mostly to please ourselves and match our self-images more-so than sending a message to anyone else. So it is good to see an advocate for harassed women dress stylishly with sex appeal daring people to make the wrong assumption about her. Those pointy shoes can hurt when you’re kicked.


A bride at a single wedding.

The New York Times had a front page feature headlined “We Don’t Have to Rely on Men Anymore” in the August 4, 2019 edition. The article focused on the changing marital and career landscape for Japanese women.

The Times reports, “As recently as the mid-1990s, only one in 20 women in Japan had never been married by the time they turned 50, according to government census figures. But by 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, that had changed drastically, with one in seven women remaining unmarried by that age. And for women ages 35 to 39, the percentage was even higher: Nearly a quarter had never been married, compared with only about 10 percent two decades earlier.”

The cultural shift can be attributed to Japan’s traditional — and stifling — view of women’s marital role. They are expected to bear the brunt of all housework and child rearing — even if they hold jobs — and become reliant on their husbands for economic security. “When they marry, they have to give up so many things,” said Mari Miura, a professor of political science at Sophia University in Tokyo, “so many freedoms and so much independence.”

The rise in single females is somewhat mirrored on the male side also. The Times said that the economic collapse in the 1990s left men feeling less economically secure and more gun shy to take on the responsibility of family life. Thus, Japan has seen declining birth rates and that alarms government officials.

Michelle’s Big Day.

Enterprising Japanese businesspersons are creating restaurants, karaoke bars, and apartment complexes catering to single women who are economically independent. A small industry of photographers and wedding venues are creating packages for single women to “marry” their single selves. The Times reported on one such event: “The bride wore a birthday cake of a dress, with a scalloped-edge bodice and a large hoop skirt. A veil sprouted from her black bob. Moments before the wedding began, she stood quietly on a staircase, waiting to descend to the ceremony. “Wow,” she thought. “I’m really doing this.” This was no conventional wedding to join two people in matrimony. Instead, a group of nearly 30 friends gathered in a banquet room in one of Tokyo’s most fashionable districts last year to witness Sanae Hanaoka, 31, as she performed a public declaration of her love — for her single self. “I wanted to figure out how to live on my own,” Ms. Hanaoka told the group, standing alone on a stage as she thanked them for attending her solo wedding. “I want to rely on my own strength.”

Newly independent Japanese women are not the only group with wedding dreams and no partners with whom to tie the knot. Crossdressers in wedding gowns have been a staple in our community for decades. All that white satin, lace, crinoline and tulle and no one to throw back the veil and say “I do.” Look to the east, would-be crossdressing brides. Marry yourselves and never look back.


I don’t understand how the Pinterest.com site determines which “pins” from other users I might be interested in. For example, for a while I was receiving multiple posts about Hilary Duff, the former adolescent Disney television star. Never watched the show, never expressed any interest in her, I’m sure. But I didn’t mind. The now thirty-something Hilary Duff is a sharp looking lady with what seems to be a high heels with tight jeans fetish.

Seeing red. Amanda displays two things that Dina loves.

Currently, the suggestions from the good folks at Pinterest are focused on redheads. And I’m not talking about comedian Carrot Top or the young Ron Howard (when he still had red hair). These are all manner of beautiful women with bright orange, dusky auburn, and titian-tinted tresses. Again, I don’t mind the unsolicited suggestions to look at beautiful women — redheaded or not. In fact, it made me think more about redheads than I’ve ever thought before.

When I was growing up, if you asked me, my least favorite hair color and the body type that often went with it would have been the red hair, pale skin and freckles combination. That all changed one day in my teens when I saw a young woman in a department store with orange-red hair, a scoop neck blouse showing a generous amount of cleavage, and a scattering of freckles arrayed across her bosom. I began to notice that a lot of women with the red hair-pale skin combination are also blessed with generous bosoms. (Think of the young Lindsay Lohan, Susan Sarandon, Jill St. John, Leslie Ann Warren, or model Kacy Anne Hill). So I became a fan of redheads.

Redheads (of both genders) are sometimes referred to as “gingers.” Some of the Pinterest posts are banks of beauties categorized by posters as “gingers.” I was only vaguely familiar with the term before my attention was pulled toward the redheads recently. Now, I know why the redheaded glamour girl trapped on Gilligan’s Island was named Ginger. It’s a sexy name and it winks at her hair color.

Red hair is not something you see much of in the crossdressing world. There are some auburn tinted wigs out there but you rarely if ever see a bright red-haired wig sported by a crossdresser. Of course, I experienced an exception to this rule many years ago at a Renaissance support group meeting near Philadelphia.

One night, a young crossdresser showed up in a bright red wig. It wasn’t a novelty wig — it was a nice wig in a bright cardinal red hue. She looked quite fetching with her youthful face and figure but that hair was the thing that captured everyone’s attention. We never saw her again. I wonder whatever became of her. Like the busty, ginger, freckled girl, the red-headed crossdresser lives on in the recesses of my memory. Thanks to Pinterest.com, they are both back in my frontal lobe.


I forget where I came across the report on the Oxford Conference on Corsetry but I’m glad I did. The annual conference of corset makers took place on August 24-25, 2019 in Oxford, England.

Corset Conference model.

When I found the conference’s official website, I discovered that this was not some fetish ball for corset enthusiasts to strut their stuff. This was serious business — held in the ancient halls of Jesus College (founded by Elizabeth I) some 500 years ago. The agenda featured several well-known corset designers and corset historians. Demonstrations of corset making that cover classic creations to modern approaches were on the schedule also.

The opening sentence of the agenda description mentioned, “This year we’re paying particular attention to shape across time and gender.” This was a blurb for one of the conference speakers: “We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome Anthony Ladd Canney for the first time to Oxford. He has been at the forefront of corsetry for men for some time now, as well as creating amazing corsets for performers. He has a glittering list of clients, including Violet Chachki. He’ll be talking about corsetting the male figure. A subject not often covered, but frequently asked for.” You can’t get away from crossdressing, try as you might!

The conference does have a photography session scheduled on the second day. Aha! I thought. These corset ladies do want to swan around in their creations. But no, the conference supplies models and photographers so that the designers can have their creations professionally shot for promotional purposes. This is a no-nonsense affair.

Interestingly, to tie one of my other items into this piece, one of the past corset models at the conference was named “Gingerface,” a red haired, pale skinned beauty in a classically inspired bodice. That’s sort of a coincidence — or rather a harmonic consonance — in this Diner. Happens all the time here.

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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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