One of the highlights of my crossdressing "career" was being featured in, and on the cover of "Ladylike" magazine issue #23. It was certainly an honor to be featured in such a classy publication. Both the photos and the text are Copyrighted by Ladylike Magazine & Creative Design Services and are used with the express written permission of CDS. By the way CDS is a great resource for just about anything you can imagine related to gender issues.
Name: Lori Larkin
Profession: Self Employed
Height: 5' 6"
Measurements: 36-26-36/ Size 8
Shoe Size: 8 1/2
Shoe Style: Pumps
Music: Soft Rock, Contemporary Country
Style of Dress: Sassy but Stylish
Place: Fireplace on a Cold Night
Turn-Ons: Feminine Women, Warm Fuzzies
Turn-Offs: Narrow Minded People, Cold Pricklies
Question #1: Almost without fail, these interviews start with an early childhood experience with crossdressing. So, rather than ask you the same tired question about your first experience, Iím going to ask you to think back to your early experiences and tell us if you believe there is something genetically different about crossdressers than so-called "normal" males.
Lori: I honestly believe that in most cases the proclivity toward femininity is innate. I certainly can't remember waking up one day and making a concience decision to start crossdressing. It was something I was drawn to as far back as I can remember. Even as a child I can remember secretly trying on my older sisters clothing and how good it felt. But it went beyond just the clothing. Although I did all the things little boys did, I also liked playing with my sister and her friends whenever they would let me. All through school it seemed like my really close friends were girls, I especially liked the way they loved and supported each other and the ease with which they expressed their feelings. Even now, when I go to a party or some sort of gathering I invariably end up spending more time visiting with the women than the men.
Question #2: Why do you think you started crossdressing after age 30? Did you feel something was missing in your life?
Lori: Like many others I had no idea there was such a thing as a gender community. I guess you could say the desire was there but the opportunity wasn't, exposure to such things in Wyoming is virtually nonexistant. Except for occasionally trying on my sisters clothing during my elementary school years, I never really started to dress until I was over thirty. However whenever I came across anything even remotely associated to the subject I would always pay close attention. Then one time when I was in Denver I came across an ad in the business personals for a little boutique that catered to women, female impersonators, and crossdressers and I knew I had to check it out. After driving by several times and watching the place from down the street, I gathered up all my courage and went in. I'm sure the sales girl sensed I was nervous and she did her best to make me feel comfortable. I ended up buying some lingerie and taking it back home with me. Of course when I tried it on, it felt absolutely wonderful, both physically and emotionally. After that I began ordering clothing and a wig from various catalogs
Question #3: Your next step, then, was to go out in public dressed. What kind of experience was that for you?
Lori: At first dressing up and playing around with makeup at home was sufficient but after awhile it became a case of all dressed up and no where to go so I made the decision to return to Denver with the intention of venturing out in public for the first time. I got a hotel room and took a lot of time trying to make myself presentable and in the poorly lit hotel room I thought I looked pretty passable. I used the self timer on my camera to take some pictures of myself before venturing out the door. My heart was pounding as I mustered up all my courage and headed out the door. I drove to a nearby shopping area and went into a drug store and purchased a few items. On my way out a group of teenage boys started making cat calls and rude comments to me. I did my best not to panic and walked quickly to my car and drove away. On the way back to my hotel I tried to figure out what had given me away, when I had the pictures developed I got the answer. In the poor light of the hotel room my make up appeared to look good but I could see from the pictures it did little to cover my beard and was not applied very good at all. My wig looked cheap (which it was), I had no hips, and the dress I wore was to big. Looking at the pictures, I obviously looked like a guy in a dress. Convinced that I was never going to be passable, I confined my dressing to inside the house or hotel rooms for the next eight years.
Question #4: What was the turning point in the developement of Lori? You certainly look very, very passable now.
Lori: Several years later I learned of a woman in Denver that catered to crossdressers so I made an appointment and went to see her. She took one look at me and said with my small size and facial features I could make a very attractive woman if I would be willing to commit the time and resources to do it. I had my doubts but told her I would do whatever was necessary. First she took me shopping and helped me find clothes that fit and looked good on me, she encouraged me to buy styles that made me look younger and flattered my figure. Next came new breast forms and "hip enhancement" to help give me a better female shape. Then she arranged for me to go to a wig shop for a new wig and to have it styled to fit my face. Now that I had all the necessary equipment she informed me it was time for our first outing, we were to go out to dinner as girlfriends. Needless to say I was scared to death but very excited at the same time. When the big day finally arrived I gathered up all my things and went to a beauty shop where I was to be the last appointment for the day to have my makeup professionally done and to change into one of my new outfits. The makeup person was an absolute artist and took over an hour getting my makeup perfect. Once the makeup was done, I went into the restroom and changed my clothes before coming back out to put my new wig on. My back was to the mirror as she put my wig on and gave it a few final little touches. I will never forget the moment when I turned around and saw the results, I was absolutely speechless, I couldn't believe the woman looking back was really me. When my consultant friend came to pick me up (in a limo no less) even she was amazed at how well it had all come together. That first outing was more like a fairytale come true and will always be a special memory. After that we worked on mannerisms, posture, deportment and such. My consultant was always very honest with me, sometimes painfully so, but I came a long way in a short amount of time, so much of it seemed to come so natural for me. She knew what she was doing as six months later I was dressed in a cute business outfit and on an airplane headed for the Texas 'T' Party. That was almost five years ago and now I go anywhere and do most anything I want as Lori.
Question #5: Okay, so now youíve had a taste of what is was like to be out and about as a woman. You live in a big state with little population. There canít be that much organized CD activity in Wyoming. What do you do when Lori needs to get out?
Lori: I love living in Wyoming and the quality of life it provides but it's not exactly the crossdressing capitol of the world. I'm sure many other small town girls can relate to the lack of support and opportunity when it comes to gender outings. So in order to indulge in my proclivity for the feminine I usually drive to Denver where I try to spend three to four days at a time completely enfemme. It's about a four and a half hour drive which is not really that far. There are two support organizations there, the Gender Identy Center and the Delta Chapter of Tri-Ess.
By becoming involved with them I have made several friends that I can spend time with as Lori. In addition to driving to Denver I also try to attend a convention or two every year. For those readers that have never attended any of the large gender events I would strongly encourage them to. I remember when I attended my first 'T' party I mentioned earlier that I was overwhelmed with how caring and loving everyone was. It didn't matter if you pass or how feminine you sound, everyone accepts you as you are. I always learn more about myself and a few new tricks but the best part is the friends I have made from accross the country.
Question #6: Okay, but you can only spend so many days away from home. How do you stay in touch with whatís happening?
Lori: Between outings I have found another way to meet and get to know T- sisters and T- admirers from all over the world. The gender forums and message boards on the computer networks. One of my CD friends in Denver got me started and I love it. I correspond with friends in just about every part of the country. You can ask questions, participate in discussions (either individually or in a group), post or respond to messages, and even share pictures. If I'm planning a trip somewhere all I have to do is post a message to that effect and chances are I will make contact with several others before I ever leave home. It's also a great way to learn of safe places to go and things to do enfemme. I have a made a lot of new friends on the networks and it helps me to stay involved between outings.
Question #7: You mentioned that you feel you are "gender blessed." What exactly do you mean by that. Some people think being a crossdresser is a curse.
Lori: Crossdressing has opened my eyes in so many ways. I do my best to achieve a balance of the more positive traits of both genders. I am much more understanding and accepting of a whole range of things than I used to be. I have found that I really like relating to people much more on an emotional and feelings level rather than wholly on a logical and intellectual one. I honestly believe that I am a much better person being gender blessed.
Question #8: Given your size and features, it must be a real temptation to go "full-time." Does that thought ever cross your mind?
Lori: Yes it does, I'm sure most of us have toyed with that particular fantasy at one time or another. Although I take my crossdressing seriously and do the best I can to project as feminine an image as possible I have other responsibilities that keep my high heels on the ground, so to speak. The most important of which is my young son, he is paramount to me. Children have enough to deal with these days with just trying to grow up.
Question #9: Where does Lori go from here?
Lori: For the most part I am pretty content with where I am as Lori. I have no real desire to become a fulltime woman. To me crossdressing is an enormous amount of fun. I love creating different looks and the illusion of being female along with all the related feminine feelings. A lot of girls that live full time tell me that after a period of time it becomes somewhat routine and they actually get tired of putting on makeup, wearing tight fitting lingerie, high heels, etc. I am always looking forward to my next outing, whatever it might be. Given the opportunity I would probably spend a lot more time as Lori but I always want it to be special. At the same time I have a lot of male friends and activities that I have no desire to give up. I look at it as the best of both worlds.