Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Future Is Here!

Next up on my Helping Meg Grow series: the internet.

Hey, if "the computer" could be a Time Person of the Year (1982), then this qualifies.

Before the internet, or the world of connected computers ~ networks like Delphi or smaller BBSs (bulletin board systems), transfolk were alone.

We were more than alone: we were weird to the point that we were SURE we were the only guys who'd ever want to willingly wear a dress or a bra or makeup.

Think back.  Odds are, when you thought about dressing you also thought that you could NEVER tell anyone about it EVER.

I'm talking to the girls who grew up pre-internet.

There would be little hints that this was not insane and you were not alone.  Maybe you saw an alternative magazine ~ some "adult" newsstands had them.  I remember seeing a couple of trans-related ads in the free sex-oriented ad mags in Las Vegas (I was just curious).  You might find an ad for the tiny handful of stores that catered to "transvestites," the only term they'd have for us.

I could never figure out why someone would go into a store where everyone immediately knew you were a tranny (even maybe someone who saw you enter from the street) so you could buy way overpriced clothing, rather than a women's shop where you could probably bull your way into a plausible excuse to buy almost anything.  Or go mail order.  Yes, they had the odd sizes.  Yes, you could try things on (wow!) but the costs (risk and financial) always seemed to high to me.

But it did mean you weren't alone.

Then BBSs showed up and if it reached a high enough client threshold someone would start a transvestite board.

Wow.  You're not alone.

The rise of the internet brought forth Usenet (which I've mentioned before).

And now, we know we're normal, we're not alone, and we can live a sane and safe life as we were meant to be.

I'm excited about the future: I plan to play a small supporting role.


  1. It is difficult to overstate just how important the internet has been in both liberating and normalising not only our generation who grew up before it was around, nut also the succeeding generations who now know from an early age that they are not alone.

  2. While I remain a bit of a computer Luddite it really is amazing the easy access that people can now find to all things T.
    I recall that I first read about a group called Tri-Ess in a Penthouse Forum magazine in the 1980s. To move forward at all I had to:

    First rent a post office box,

    Second write a letter to Tri-Ess with a SASE to the PO Box,

    Third, get the material from Tri-Ess national that told me about the local chapter,

    Fourth, write a letter to an unknown person at the local chapter at their PO Box again enclosing a SASE for my PO Box.

    Fifth, eventually get a letter from the local chapter membership person,

    Sixth, several letters back and forth to arrange a time for a meeting and my personal interview and to find out that notwithstanding my several letters that I would keep everything confidential that they needed to meet me to make sure that in their personal opinion I can be trusted not to tell anyone about this group.

    Seventh, meet the Tri-ess representative for lunch with both of us in male mode.

    Eigth, wait to find out if my application to the local Tri-Ess Chapter was accepted.

    Ninth, make sure that I had paid my initiation and dues to BOTH the national and local unit

    Tenth, learn the secret location of the monthly meeting.

    Eleventh, exchage correspondence about the meeting.

    Twelvth, attend the meeting.

    Those twelve steps likely took the better part of six months in not more. Today all that can be accomplished with a few clicks of the mouse.


  3. I joined the Atlanta Tri-Ess Chapter in 1991. Luckily, the Chapter was rather large because it covered Georgia and parts Alabama. Because the Chapter was so big, you just had to come to a meeting and ask to join. I remember going to my first meeting in boy mode and sitting at the restaurant away from the group. Once the general meeting was over, I walked up to the President and asked to join. Everyone treated me so well and I came back as Susan the next month. I still have my name tag. However, once I found the internet in 1993 ans BBS, I did not renew.

    Susan King

  4. I agree, the internet has been very good in me not feeling so isolated.


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