Tessa Stevenson's Profile
Born in London with a boarding
school background. I'm fine with being called a Tranny, it's a term
I use myself. I think I'm a TV with a hint of CD in the kinkier elements
of my wardrobe. I'd also love a pill that would make me a complete woman
just for the weekend!
What is your name and what is your background?
My name is Tessa Stevenson. I was born
in London and have lived here all my life except for a stint at school
in Hertfordshire and at university in Leeds, where I studied English
Literature. I could have been an upper class twit due to my boarding
school background and limited experience of 'classes' other than my
own, but thankfully I met a wide range of people at Leeds, which taught
me that it's people that count, not their background or how much money
they have. Having said that I do have the ironic nickname from some
TG friends of 'Lord Timmy' (thanks Nicola and Sarah - I won't say what
your nicknames are!). I'm single and happy that way.
Is your name an alter ego
"femme" name - why did you choose that name?
My full girlie name is Theresa Jane
Stevenson. I wanted a name with the same initials as my male one, to
make booking things and using credit cards easier, and to keep a close
association between the two sides of my identity. Theresa because I
admired the actress Theresa Russell, Jane because of my attractive first
cousin (who I look rather like when I'm dressed, I've been told, but
less cute), Stevenson because I was too stupid to think of another surname!
I used to think I'd have liked to have picked another surname to hide
my identity, but now I like it - I have no desire to hide: if anything
quite the opposite!
How old are you and how young
were you when you first thought about or actually cross-dressed?
I'm 46. I remember playing dressing up games with other boys and girls
in my parents bedroom when I was about 6 I suppose - no-one wanted to
dress in Dad's clothes, for sure! I also used to raid the matrons' washing
basket when I was at boarding school from about 10 or 11 - sneaking
about at midnight and putting on whatever I could find that was silky
or felt tight. Several times I nearly got caught, hiding in a bathroom
or toilet while some drunken master reeled his way down the corridor
on the way to bed! The fear gave an adrenalin rush that only added to
the excitement. I think there was a thrill in doing something naughty
as well as the pubescent sexual feelings of being somehow close to girls
Where do you buy your clothes?
Chiefly from mail order catalogues
such as Grattan/ Freemans (the same company, by the way, with the same
catalogues, but twice the chance to enter the prize draw and win £100,000
- well you have to dream don't you! What would I wear to the prize giving
ceremony I wonder. Also Oxford Street stores such as New Look, Topshop,
John Lewis and Selfridges. My home town has three girls clothes shops
and a shoe/ bag shop in a row, and I do like going in for a browse or
when I see something nice in the window and asking to try it on. The
girls in the shop are invariably very friendly and interested, which
adds to the thrill!.
What leads you to choose the
styles you wear?
I love the feel of women's clothes, so I tend to go for silks, satins
and soft shiny materials as well as more practical things. I have a
wide range of outfits from short and tarty to sensible and smart - plus
some old favourites that don't really look that good but I can't bear
to part with. As I go to a wide range of events I have clothes to match:
Channel (well knock-off anyway) and floaty frocks for Ascot, strapless
ball gowns for Transfandango, beaded jeans and rooched T-shirts for
shopping in Bluewater, silk tops and minis for WayOut Club, and rubber
skirts and corsets for the Rubber Ball!.
Do you have one look, or many
I think I've covered that! I would
add that whatever I wear I like to look as female as possible within
the bounds of my natural (falsie-enhanced) shape, and I do have good
legs so I like to show my pins! Some trannies seem not to be too bothered
about 'passing' (which is fine, each to her own), but I like to think
that it takes at least a second glance as I'm walking through Covent
Garden in a summer frock, on the way from a show to Steph's for a bite
Is make-up and hair important
to you and if so how do you achieve your look?
Yes, they both add to the feeling of being special and making an effort
to be beautiful. I have my own (artificially assisted blonde) long hair
which I can style various ways, and I have a hairdresser who seems to
enjoy making me look girlish before we rough it up to look 'blokey'
(of course this could just be a fantasy on my part. I have had make-up
lessons from the lovely Nas of Top to Toe fame, and I like to think
I can do a good job of make-up on myself (practice, practice girls!),
but usually I use the excellent services of Jodie and Sean at the Boudoir,
because they're so good and it's a lot of fun to be pampered and transformed
into someone I could not achieve myself..
To what degree do you practice
hair removal, and other body feminisation?
I get waxed nearly all over by the Ripper (Nas) every 6 weeks or so,
which leaves me lovely and smooth for ages afterwards. I also pluck
my eyebrows every two or three days, and am proud of my beautiful nails
which I grow long, paint with 'nail food' (at least that's what I tell
people who notice the healthy shine!) and manicure weekly while watching
telly. I also occasionally get my lashes tinted. In general I like to
make the most of what I have naturally, rather than use artificial enhancement
(apart from the boobs and sometimes some corsetry, natch!). Oh yes and
I've got pierced ears that I always wear at least gold studs in.
Who knows you dress?
Most of my family, several close friends
of all sexes (but mostly women), my neighbours on one side, the girls
in the local clothes shops, and of course the Boudettes. While I have
no burning desire to come out to all and sundry, I do like my good friends
to know, as it means they know more of the real me, and I can relax
when talking about myself and the places I've been or things I've done.
There are probably many more who suspect, as I found out the other month
at work when a client mentioned that some people remembered me as the
guy with the plucked eyebrows, long hair and earrings (she also remarked
that I had a bit of pink nail varnish on my little finger - oops!).
I used to think that nobody noticed, but I now know that it's more that
the more perceptive (99% female I think) notice, are maybe curious,
but don't comment to my face. This is fine with me, and I suppose the
level of openness and knowledge I display when talking to my more attractive
female colleagues about what they're wearing, and fashion, clothes and
makeup in general could be a bit of a giveaway! .
How often do you dress and
if you go out where to?
I'm out dressed about once a month and
I go anywhere! As a bloke I hate nightclubs, but as a girl I enjoy the
glamour and the showing off, so WayOut Club or Transmission or Pink
Punters are great. Most of my outings involve the Boudoir dressing service
(see listings in TG AtoZ directory) and I love the experience of all
getting ready together and going out as a party of girls - just like
real girls do. I enjoy going to 'straight' places to be looked at, hopefully
admired, and to spread the word that we're not weirdo perverts but real
people who smile and talk and have fun. There is a certain thrill in
being special among the 'normals' as well - I doubt people would turn
to look if I walked down the stairs at Quaglino's in a sharp suit, but
in a lovely frock, well the sound of cutlery on crockery does die down
for a bit I must say. Great huh! Theatres, shops, restaurants, charity
balls, clubs, Gran Canaria, New York, Scotland, Manchester, Brighton,
Milton Keynes, Cambridge - join the Transgendered and see the world!
I dress at home about once a week, and nearly always wear nice knickers
during the day and a nightie in bed.
What is a man and what is a
To me there is
a sliding scale between 'macho cave-man' and submissive 'nest-builder'.
We all have aspects from several points along the scale, but some of
us blokes knowingly have more of the feminine and want to express it,
just as some women are definitely have more of the masculine. I do believe
this is often at least partly Nature - maybe the transgendered are likely
to have missed out on one of the testosterone burst that occur during
development in the womb - but Nurture plays a big part too, with feminine
role models, absent or uninterested fathers, early exposure to the joys
of femininity, all potentially playing a part. As a broad generalisation,
men tend to be more aggressive, dominating and selfish, while women
tend to be more emotional, consensual and sympathetic.
What's your definition of feminine?
Again, a range of things. Sexy, attractive,
flirty, coy, soft, comfortable, pink, gossipy, bitchy....
Where do you feel you fit on
the transgender spectrum CD TV TS?
I think I'm a TV
with a hint of CD in the kinkier elements of my wardrobe. I'd also love
a pill that would make me a complete woman just for the weekend!.
Are you happy to be called
a tranny or a drag queen or does that offend you?
To me a drag queen
is an exaggeration of female, which is not what I aim for. It wouldn't
offend me, it would just be inaccurate. I'm fine with being called a
Tranny, it's a term I use myself. These niceties of definition are lost
on 'normals' anyway. I prefer to explain exactly what's involved whenever
I first tell someone, so there's no confusion about my sexuality, whether
I want surgery etc. etc. I think as a generic label Transgendered works
best, although even that sounds a bit like being inflicted with a disease,
as if something has been imposed on me against my will.
To what degree do you feel gender
dysphoric (i.e. that your brain is feminine)?
Well I like shopping,
tend to ask what colour things are rather than how many cubic thingies
they have, and seem to be quite good at high heels, so I must have some
girlie in there somewhere! I think my experiences, especially in the
last 5 years or so (i.e. living a more transgendered lifestyle), have
exercised the feminine aspects that probably lie dormant in many people
anyway. Having said that I think I was genetically predisposed to the
feminine as well.
To what degree would you consider
permanent hair removal, hormones, surgery?
I might get my
face, chest and legs done (electrolysis or laser, depending on which
works better and is less painful) at some point, but I think hormones
are too dangerous and surgery too permanent. I don't really want body
alterations, as I enjoy being a bloke too much!.
What individual has inspired
you most in relation to your TG inclinations?
Tricky. It would
be invidious to name names within my personal circle, as I'd undoubtedly
leave someone out. I remember being immensely impressed when Eddie Izzard
first went properly public. He just said here I am, I'm a Transvestite
(or Action Transvestite) and I have no intention of hiding it, now let's
get on with it. That was very empowering, and I like to think is close
to my approach too.
Do you feel you have any choice
in your TG thoughts and actions?
I can exercise
control over my actions if I have to, but the thoughts will just keep
on popping in there! It is certainly true that a kind of pressure builds
up inside if I am having TV thoughts but not doing anything about it.
The whole urge to cross dress does wax and wane over time too - it seems
to depend on how much energy I am spending on other things like work.
Have you ever suffered harassment
Mildly. At Ascot
a couple of years ago some drunken Hoorays or Essex-boys said something
amazingly perceptive like "you're blokes ... bloody Poofs" as they staggered
past late in the afternoon, but we corrected them ("only half right
dears") and moved on without any further aggro. At Chicago a Northern
gentleman was muttering something uncomplimentary a few rows back from
us, but who cares what he thinks? I don't think I've ever suffered anything
that made me genuinely worried. Generally (apart from with nutters and
drunks) it's down to our reaction I think. Smile and look at them openly,
and you're a person. Frown and shrink away and you're a victim.
Have you tried to stop?
Not really. I've
gone many months (possibly years) without doing anything in the past
just because I didn't feel like it, but never with the intention of
quitting forever (a bit like smoking really!). You can get off the Tranny
Bus, but you'll always have your ticket!.
Are your sexual preferences
changed by your TG experiences (even temporarily)?
Not in practice.
I do have some pretty weird fantasies though!.
Have you suffered illness, depression,
relationship break ups because of being TG?
If you could relive your life
without the TG experience would you choose to?
No. It's made me
a more complete, more considerate, more sensitive person, and I've met
some lovely people who I think of as good friends (you know who you
Do you feel that releasing your
"gender gift" has released creativity (poetry, music, art) that may
otherwise have remained repressed?
It would if I
wasn't too lazy to do anything about it!.
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?
(Apart from in
my youth which I am too old to remember now)... The thrill the first
time I tried on a dress in a charity shop after admitting 'it was for
me' and getting a really friendly reception. Meeting Nas for the first
time for a makeup lesson and clothes parade. My first trip to the WayOut
Club - my first proper time out in public, with two female friends,
and making tea and toast for them and the mini-cab driver (!) in my
house at 3 in the morning. Spending a full three days completely as
a woman at the Clinic in the Country. My first makeover and photo session
at the Boudoir (on 11/9/2001!). Since then there have been many outstanding
experiences on trips too numerous to mention!.
What one piece of advice would
you give to someone that has just found they are not the only tranny
in the world?
I think we can take the 'get out there
and enjoy it' bit as read! I think I'd say "be who YOU want to be".
The Boudoir for photos and makeup:
Tessa & Mummy on Zebra Crossing.jpg
Loncilla for photo. model's own makeup:
Model's Own photos and makeup except where stated:
PB220011.JPG Boudoir makeup
P4240025.JPG Boudoir makeup
P4230007.JPG Boudoir makeup
P9270012.JPG Boudoir makeup
P3010028.JPG PA040034.JPG Boudoir makeup