Erika's Profile

What is your name and what is your background?

My name is Erika Ridley and i come from a stable family background.

Is your name an alter ego? femme name, why did you choose that name?

Well i wanted a name that was different from the rest so i chose Erika based upon the fact that (when i fancied real girls) i worked with this girl i really liked. Ridley came from the fact that i had a crush on Andrew Ridgley except that i removed the g; and no my male name isn't Erik.

How old are you and how young were you when you first thought about or actually cross-dressed?

I'm 43 but starting dressing up (well messing about really) at home when i was about 14. I loved and still love Ballet and always had this fantasy of being a ballerina. I came out (pre internet days) at 24. Girls are so lucky these days to have the support we never had.

Where do you buy your clothes?

Here, there & everywhere. In fact if i see a nice outfit i'll just go & buy it. The joys of being single means that if i can afford it then i'll probably buy it. I don't really have a favorite shop but i do like quality as opposed to quantity. Like most girls i hate being at a party wearing the same outfit as the next person.

What leads you to choose the styles you wear?

Many girls like to dress in order to stand out. My motto is to blend in and therefore i dress to do just that.

Do you have one look, or many images?

My own hair is fairly long and quite thick and as i really hate full wigs i use a 3/4 wig in a straight style to compliment my own look. If i have another image then it is because of my make up or the clothes i wear.

Is make-up and hair important to you and if so how do you achieve your look?

Hair, well we've been there but i am growing it long again so i don't have to wear even a 3/4 wig. Make-up is very important, particularly foundation and i can recommend Estee Lauder Maximum cover. The key is not to put too much on but to prepare yourself for the night ahead. A very very close shave. If you can get away with it then keep your eyebrows plucked & shaped. Don't forget the nasel hair as there's nothing worse than seeing a girl with strands of hair hanging from her nasal cavities. For the rest i use MAC. Rimmel for lipstick & nail varnish.

To what degree do you practice hair removal, and other body feminisation?

Fortunately i am blessed with very little body hair. For what is there i wax myself every 6 weeks or so. I've thought about laser treatment on my face. No, that's a lie as i'm still considering it. As for the rest of me well i like the illusion of what you can do with what you don't have.

Who knows you dress?

I told my Mum 10 years ago. I think that the rest of my family know too but it's one of those things that's never discussed as i think they're quite ashamed of the fact that i am single and no Girlfriend therefore i must be Gay. All off my close friends know as do some people who i'd care not to . 

How often do you dress and if you go out where to?

I dress every day as i feel more comfortable this way. I now live in Amsterdam but am not on the Tranny scene. There is one albeit very dull & really not my scene anymore. The Gay scene is very much gay ie MEN only. I tend to hang out with my friends and frequent a very nice late night bar called the Korsakoff. From time to time i can be seen at a Queer Disco. But more often than not i'll be at a Goth Party of which there is quite a big scene here; Amora, Epicentre, Gothoord, Bal du Masque and one or two other occasional parties.  

So what is a man and what is a woman?

Can't answer this one except to say that i am both.

Whats your definition of feminine?

Being the me i like to be as opposed to the one i am.

Where do you feel you fit on the transgender spectrum CD TV TS?

Somewhere between TV & TS. I would guess that i'd class myself as a Non-op TS.

Are you happy to be called a Tranny?

A label is a label often used to classify someone into a catagory that best fits the the time & place.

To what degree do you feel gender dysphoric?

I wash the dishes after every meal. Seriously though a part of me feels i should be a girl whilst the other part says be happy with what you've got.

To what degree would you consider permanent hair removal, hormones, and surgery?

I'm investigating Laser hair removal on my face, as if successful will give me a lot more options for going out.

What individual has inspired you most in relation to your TG inclinations?
To be honest, no one apart from my desire to be happy. Let's face it we should all be happy with what we choose to do in this life. Naturally there are boundaries as to what we can do in order to balance work with our other life.

Do you feel that you have any choice in your TG thoughts and actions?

Most definitely yes. What we choose to do is upto us & we should not let our peers dictate to us as to how we should lead our lives. For a long time i let my parents dictate my life to me as to what i should & shouldn't do with regards to my appearance & in particularly my hair length.

Have you ever suffered harassment or abuse?

Once in a straight club in Nottingham i had this guy taunt me with some nasty comments but he got thrown out by the bouncers. 

Have you tried to stop?

Haven't we all. Yes i tried once and i regret trying as i really couldn't imagine what life would be without how i am.

Are your sexual preferences changed by your TG experiences (even temporarily)?

I've had relationships with women, men & TG's. All the the women i've dated have tried to change me as they couldn't accept me.

Have you suffered illness, depression, relationship break ups because of being TG?

Illness, yes when i was outed at work. But i don't want to talk about that. It's too depressing. Depression, my god yes!!! I get so depressed if i cannot dress for longer than a week. In fact a family visit can be quite depressing if i have to be away without my alter ego. Before i realised that i was more attracted to men & TG's i had 3 serious relationships with women and all of them bar one collapsed because of how i am. The first girlfriend sort of encouraged it but well drifted apart for other reasons more related to my chosen profession than anything else..

If you could relive your life without the TG experience would you?

Now that could be interesting. Maybe i'd be like my brother, married to a job, massive mortgage, a nagging wife & 2 demanding children. Happy parents knowing that the family line could continue without interuption; erm no thanks. I would rather be who i am but if i could have it all again i wouldn't have tried to be a man. Nor would i have started shaving until i really had to. In fact had laser been around in the dark ages i'd have done it by now. I think that, had i known a lot more about myself at 16 i would have chosen a more creative career as well.

Do you feel that releasing your gender gift Has released creativity, that may otherwise have remained repressed?

I'm naturally creative but i doubt that as a man i would think of making a bustle for a fetish party or think of making latex outfits.

Have you ever performed and if so how did you get into performing and what have you done? What outstanding TG experiences stand out in your mind?

The world is a stage so i guess that i'm performing right now. Seriously though, i have done catwalk modelling, worked behind a bar, been the TG representative of HGM (Healthy Gay Manchester) when it was around, also been a door whore at gay & fetish parties as well as been on various floats at Manchester's Mardi Gras, now Pride.

What outstanding TG experiences stand out in your mind?

There are just too many fantastic experiences from being asked (one time) by a real girl if i was a girl or a boy. One time on a coach trip (organised by Healthy Gay Manchester) there was this Dyke (a woman in flat shoes) who apparently (according to another such girl) took a shine to me then i opened my gob as i brushed my way past her & she realised i wasn't a girl. Then there have been numerous parties, trips & holidays to places such as clubbing it in Ibiza, The Pink Picnic in Manchester, Gay Pride in London and on various floats for Manchester's Mardi Gras. But i suppose the number one memory has to be the most recent being dressed 4 days & nights out of 6 in Leipzig in Germany 1-6 June for the WGT. The Gothic Wave Treffen a really cool series of concerts, parties, shopping & culture. I'm still wearing the wrist band & plan on replacing it next year with the new one.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone that has just found they are not the only tranny in the world?

Accept the magnificent gift you have been given and enjoy yourself. You can live 2 lives. I should know, i do.

Photograph Credits: Torben Raun for some of the Rubber Camp pics and for The Last Supper Photo shoot. All of which (plus many more photographers) are on my homepage.

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