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 and girliness.

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 images?

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 to eat.

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 woman?

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 or abuse?

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 are).

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".


Photo Credits...

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:
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