Tell Shelley Anne: Getting to Know Dina Amberle

| Mar 28, 2022
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Also known to TGF readers as Dina Sinatra.

Dina Sinatra, who pens the monthly, ‘Dina’s Diner’ feature, is a native of Philadelphia, PA, a product of Catholic school, Temple University and Villanova University. She identifies as a part-time crossdresser and was blessed with a patient and supportive wife for many years until her wife’s passing. In her not-cross dressed life, Sinatra had a long career in finance and regulatory compliance. She has been retired for a few years now. A past Chapter Leader of Renaissance, A CD/TG support group in the Philadelphia area, she has been writing about crossdressing issues for various publications and online sites for over 30 years. She now resides in a small college town where you can see her these days occupied with golf, bowling, reading, piano lessons, and of course, crossdressing.

By Shelley Anne Baker

TGForum: When did you enter the world of crossdressing? And why?

Ms. Sinatra: Like a lot of crossdressers, I had some very limited experimentation with hosiery and high heels in my teens. I do not know what triggered the interest originally. In honesty, it had a lot to do with teenage hormones and sexual urges but why it glommed onto wearing women’s lingerie and shoes? This was in the 1970s so it was not an easy topic to research or learn about. In the 1980s, crossdressing became a popular topic on the old daytime talk shows like Donahue, Geraldo, Springer, and others. There were some VHS tapes (remember those?) of drag shows and makeup tutorials and I started to figure it out. The first time I went out of the house was to attend a meeting of the Renaissance transgender support group. Through friends I met there, it blossomed into a genuine interest, hobby and obsession that pretty much continues to this day, 30-plus years later.

TGForum: Are you always in crossdress?

Ms. Sinatra: No. The amount of time I spend actually dressed is fractionally tiny compared to everything else.

TGForum: You have been contributing to TGForum as well as other similar publications. Was writing part of your profession or do you just enjoy it?

Dina dolled up for Halloween.

Ms. Sinatra: I am not a professional writer, I enjoy it. After I had been a Renaissance member for a couple of years, I started writing for their monthly newsletter around 1991, in a column that is very similar to Dina’s Diner. When everything moved online, I started writing for I have known TGForum’s managing editor, Angela Gardner, my entire crossdressing life since the days of the Renaissance group. I have been writing consistently about crossdressing and other topics that interest me.

TGForum: It seems like you have a following using different names. Please set the record ‘straight.’

Ms. Sinatra: When I started going to Renaissance meetings, everyone told me I needed a femme name, which I had not really thought about at first. I picked ‘Dina’ because, like the word, cheese, one smiles when you say it. Before the internet, crossdressers communicated through mail and having a post office box was sort of a necessity to maintain privacy. So, I needed a last name and somehow ‘Amberle’ popped into my head. I wish there was an interesting story about either name, but it was as simple as that. I also use Dina Sinatra as a femme name, and I will explain further.

TGForum: I understand you have a musical background. Please share some about your music and public performances.

Ms. Sinatra: In the 1990s, after the Renaissance meetings broke up, we would all go to a local piano bar. The piano player was a good sport and encouraged people to sing and he would accompany. He was one of those guys who knew how to play every song. The only stuff I knew that fit the lounge bar setting were songs by Frank Sinatra. After a few months of going to this bar post meetings, I started getting introduced as ‘Dina Sinatra’. The piano guy was happy to have someone sing for as long as they wanted so I would run through several songs every visit. A good crossdressing friend of mine and I started going to other piano bars in the area and we got to know a couple of other pianists who would let us sing and the Dina Sinatra thing just kept going at the new venues long after the original place closed. One of the piano players had a gig at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City for a while and I was able to sing in the lounge there in front of a pretty large crowd in the lounge and onlookers at the edge of the casino floor. It started as a gag and became an alter ego for a long time. I have not had the opportunity to sing for several years, but I kept the name and email address.

TGForum: Talk about your music parodies of familiar Frank Sinatra songs.

Ms. Sinatra: I remember driving to one of the piano bars and some parody lyrics to Strangers in the Night came into my head. That became Wearing Women’s Clothes. People seemed to enjoy that, so I started trying to add some parody lyrics to other lounge standards like Lady is a Tramp, Luck Be a Lady, Witchcraft, and I Want to be Around. I found that the best parodies just seemed to flow immediately. If I tried too hard to write them, it just did not work. Unfortunately, all of this took place before smartphones, so no video or audio was ever recorded. As the song says, “It was great fun, but it was just one of those things.”

TGForum: Besides the obvious, what is one thing people would find surprising about you?

Ms. Sinatra: I really do not know. I am a pretty conventional person aside from my long-time crossdressing experiences. I always think that my straight friends and family would be very surprised if they ever knew about my crossdressing and some of the things I was able to do as Dina. I feel like I have had some interesting experiences through crossdressing, and I cannot tell anyone about them.

TGForum: What do you value most in your day-to-day life?

Ms. Sinatra: Now that I am at a certain stage of life, my good health and mental faculties are not taken for granted. I am a widower and on my own, so I value my independence. I am thankful for the way things have turned out, at least mostly, and despite some twists and turns I am in a good place and happy.

TGForum: If you could sit next to a famous musician on a plane, who might it be and why?

Ms. Sinatra: Interesting question because some of my favorite musicians are or were notoriously prickly people. For example, Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, John Lennon, and Robert Fripp. As a late-coming piano player myself, I would like to talk to Paul McCartney about how he composed some of those great Beatles piano ballads. Also, same thought for composers like Cole Porter and others who filled out the Great American Songbook.

TGForum: If it existed, would you drink from the fountain of youth and consider transitioning fully?

Ms. Sinatra: No. I am a crossdresser. I never had any thought of transitioning. For me, it is a fun thing to practice when the spirit moves me.

TGForum: Anything else you would like to add?

Ms. Sinatra: Thank you for including me in your TGF interview column.

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Category: crossdressing, Interview


About the Author ()

Shelley Anne Baker has been part of the transsexual and transgender community for six years. Wandering about the California BDSM community, she finally found her stride in making the transition to dresses and high heels. Today, her women’s apparel, and shoes outnumbers her male apparel (that she just has to have for certain occasions, but such is life). She has seriously considered HRT, but now feels life has passed her by on that count. She is a professional writer and experienced corporate brand marketing and public relations consultant. For interview consideration and participation email Shelley Anne at

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