The first time I saw Claire on Twitter I was absolutely blown away. She is radiant, her makeup is flawless, and I would love to spend a day with her wardrobe. Claire is also as nice as can be.
I am excited and honored to feature Claire in T-Girl Spotlight.
If you’ve seen or spoken to me on Twitter (@claire_CJ_jones), hello again! If you haven’t, please let me introduce myself. My name’s Claire and I’m a very occasional transvestite who lives in Derbyshire, UK and who’s watching her half-century on this lovely planet quickly receding into the distance. It can’t be 2020 already! The wonderful Hannah has kindly given me the opportunity to tell you a little more about myself, so grab yourself a drink, pull up a chair and let’s begin.
My early story is by no means uncommon by all accounts, and perhaps is a familiar theme to many readers. My first memory of dressing was when I found a pair of my mum’s tights in my sock drawer, which had presumably been put there by mistake. I must have been around 10 or 11, and although I’d had n conscious interest in what my mum or sister wore before, I felt a really strong urge to try them on. I couldn’t because I had to get ready for school, but all through the day I just could not get the thought of wearing those tights out of my head. I rushed home and later, while safely locked in the bathroom running my bath, I managed to pull them on. The feeling was amazing & I guess you could say I was hooked from that day on, sneaking any chance I could to look ‘pretty’.
My urges grew through my teens culminating in wanting to dress fully as a woman, but all I could do was sneak a quick fix by stealing my sister’s or mum’s clothes while everyone was out. Very frustrating. It made me feel very guilty and unsure of my own sexuality as my dressing very much had a sexual element to it at that time too. To put it bluntly, dressing turned me on and most of my teenage dressing experiences involved some sort of sexual tension and release, followed by the immediate urge to remove everything as quickly as possible and subsequent feelings of guilt and shame. Was I gay? Did I want to be a woman? Nothing made sense, and as this was pre-internet, there was no way of finding anything out. I was convinced I was the only one that did this, and anything I saw in the media or heard from anyone was negative, making me feel even more confused and ashamed.
In my early twenties, I’d been to University and the urge to dress tailed off as real life and marriage took more of a front seat. My guilt at dressing never abated either, culminating in me eventually throwing the few things away that I had, convinced that it was all just a phase and that I was over it all.
I was right, up to a point. Although I never dressed again until my early forties, the thought of it didn’t actually completely go away. If I saw an article or something on the TV (Hah!) about crossdressing I just had to read or watch it, and the fear that there was something wrong with me was always there.
Then the internet arrived. Finding out that, not only were there others like me out there, but that there were many others like me was an epiphany. I really wasn’t alone. The internet is held responsible for many things, but I know for certain it was key in Claire finally being born. Knowing that I wasn’t just a freak meant that distant itch at the back of my mind slowly became more insistent, increasingly feeling that it was going to drive me crazy if I didn’t dress again. So I did.
I’d registered on a few TV sites, mainly to ogle the other girls, but now I started to properly engage and started talking to a wonderful girl called Sarah. We seemed to get on, and we shared similar interests so eventually I plucked up the courage to go visit her. I had to borrow some clothes, but to dress completely for the very first time with clothes, wig, makeup and shoes was wonderful. It felt like a huge weight had lifted from my shoulders, and the genie was well and truly out of the bottle!
I’ll always be incredibly grateful to Sarah for everything she’s done for me.
That was in late 2011, and since that time things have changed considerably. Due to home and work circumstances I only get to dress four or five times every year, but when I do I try to make the most of it. I always need to go ‘the whole hog’ when dressing, so it’s always 100% Claire or nothing, with wig, make-up, clothes and shoes, and my collection has slowly grown over time, though of course, it’s never enough! I lost weight, I lost my body hair, and I lost most of my guilt. Since Claire was born, dressing is no longer a sexual thing. I try to do my best to present as feminine an image as possible as that is important to me, but most of all, my overriding feeling when dressed is of being at peace. I relax. I become more confident, and I feel much more…’me’. I know I will never transition and have never had any desire to do so, but being able to allow the Claire side of me out to the world is a great comfort and I honestly believe, makes me a more rounded and better person. I wish I could dress more often, but the opportunities I do get are enough to keep the need-to-dress madness at bay.
As already stated, my big passion is latex, so I’m usually to be found wearing the shiny stuff, though I have been known to wear more ‘sensible’ outfits on occasion! There are probably some more normal photos on these very pages in fact.
Although I don’t dress very often, I do manage to get myself out in the world, from my very first outing to a Trans club, and on to eating out with friends at restaurants, to fetish clubs and other events, including visiting Sparkle- an annual event celebrating gender diversity- in Manchester for the past three years. Saying that, my first visit there I didn’t see any of the Sparkle event as I spent the entire time at a rock club somewhere in Manchester! Myself and my friend were the only two trans girls there, which was initially scary, but also very refreshing and exciting. We had a great time, and the people were really friendly, despite it being obvious that we were transvestites.
One thing I haven’t mentioned is how tall I am, and how this affects things this could fill a whole section by itself. In my smallest heels, I stand over seven feet tall. Yes, that isn’t a typo. While being that height can have certain advantages- mainly involving high shelves and concerts, and I also give good leg- it can also be a big disadvantage. I guess the most obvious one is being able to get clothes to fit. It’s almost impossible. Even loner-length clothes from places such as Long Tall Sally are still way too short, and it frustrates me when things don’t look just…right. It’s the same story with underwear and hosiery. I guess that’s another plus for latex- I can get latex clothes made to measure! Shoes also are a pain. Not so much that I can’t get any, because there are several companies on the internet now that supply canoes with attached heels, but more because there is such a limited choice on the larger sizes. I see so many pretty shoes that I’d love but know they don’t make them in my size.
The less immediately obvious issue with my height is how it affects me emotionally and socially, in both positive and negative ways. Even in drab I get stared at, so there’s absolutely no way of going under the radar when dressed. No matter how feminine, no matter how I move, how I speak, how I dress, there is no way I am ever going to pass, which I know many see as the Holy Grail of dressing and which is something I know I’m never going to achieve. As Claire I get stared at constantly when out anywhere, but I’ve turned what could be something potentially very emotionally damaging into a positive. Because I know I can’t go under the radar, I don’t even try. I stand tall, I act confident, I look people in the eye and I smile at them. Ninety-nine percent of the time they smile back. Ironically, I think my height has made me into a more confident person when out in the world. People will come up to me and talk to me, mainly out of curiosity, and I feel a responsibility to acquit myself well and give a good impression of myself and the trans community at large. To that end it’s also helped make me more tolerant and understanding towards people’s lack of understanding or their prejudices.
Looking towards the future I’m well into my fifties now, and although the wrinkles are springing up in their droves and everything is starting to sag, I fully intend to carry on dressing for as long as I can. Claire is a full part of my life now, I’ve made peace with that part of my psyche and although I try not to look back and regret things, I do wish the internet had been around when I was much younger. Although I wish I could dress more, I wish I wasn’t as tall and I wish I could be more open about who I am, I know I’m actually incredibly lucky. The grass always seems greener on the other side, but the reality is I’ve met so many lovely people- some of whom were my trans heroes during my early forays onto the internet- and I’ve experienced things I could never have dreamed I would do. Overall, I can’t be anything but happy with what I have so I’m going to carry on enjoying what I can for as long as I can. Onwards and upwards!
I haven’t mentioned anything about my, erm, kinks, on here as I’m not sure this is the place to do so. If anyone wants to know more, please do say so!
A huge thank you goes out to Hannah for getting in touch and asking me to do this and giving me this incredible and humbling opportunity. A final thank you goes to everyone who read this. Whether or not you found any of it of interest or of use I don’t know, but if you did, please let me know.
Love to you all
And yes, it is cold up here!