The Crystal Cronicle


Vol 10 No 9, September 1998, Copyright © 1998 by The Crystal Club, Columbus, OH

Current Officers

President - Stephanie

Vice President - Carey

Treasurer - Dianna

Secretary - Jannie

Newsletter Editor - Kelly

Assistant Editor - Jannie

Meeting Coordinator - Latoya

Screening Officer - Dea

The Crystal Chronicle is the official newsletter of the Crystal Club. The Chronicle is published and mailed a week prior to the regularly scheduled meeting.

Complementary copies of the Chronicle may be obtained by contacting a club officer or any club member.

News items for the Chronicle should be mailed to Kelly Davidson before the end of each month.. Her E-mail address is:

HZ150@cleveland.freenet.edu.

Please specify in the subject field that this is an article for the newsletter.

Logoís from the Past

By Kelly Davidson

 

While pouring through more then 9 years of old newsletters provided by Mary Ann Horton (thank you Mary Ann) I was amassed at the number of the different logoís the club has had over the years. While many clubs tend to keep the same logo year after year our club hasnít. To kick off the countdown for our 10 year anniversary coming up next year each month Jannie and I will try to post a logo from the past. This month we start with our very first logo from volume 1, issue 1. If Iím not mistaken, the editor who created our first logo was Mary Ann. No clip art, just a plain and simple title (remember folks, this was in the early days of computers when editors wore wooden underwear). The logo was in use from May, 1989, our first issue until September, 1989.

In addition to posting our past logoís, Iím going to include one or two articles from prior newsletters that I felt were worth reading again but I donít plan to use for our anniversary issues (April and May of 1999). I hope you will enjoy these articles as much as I enjoyed going through them.

From the President

At the time this newsletter went to press our president was still in Montreal. I talked to Stephanie and while sore from the surgery, she sounded great. I know I speak for the other members of the club when I wish you a fast recovery. We hope to hear from you next month.

 

Regular Meeting in September

 

There was a bit of confusion concerning if we would be having a meeting this month or attending Kings Island which is being sponsored by Stonewall in Cincinnati, OH. It was discovered that the Kings Island party is on Friday, September 25 and not the Saturday of our meeting.

This means we will be having our regular meeting on September 26 at the same place and time. We are asking members to clean our their closets and bring in any unwanted clothes you donít need anymore to swap with other members. Hope to see everyone there.

Editor Notes

By Kelly Davidson

 

The Month of August was very good to me. Actually, starting in July I began to feel weak and tired all the time but by the time August came I was feeling the worst of it. I saw several doctors but so far have no idea what really happen to me. Most likely it was caused by my sleep apnea and a change in work hours. Thank goodness Jannie was able to step in and do the newsletter for me.

 

We had already made arrangements for her to do the August newsletter. For sometime Jannie had been wanting to get a newsletter out but her schedule made this impossible until now. She did a great job on her first newsletter, much better then I did on my first two times at bat. This month I will be doing the newsletter but look for Jannie to do the October issue.

 

I canít tell you how nice it feels to take a vacation from the newsletter. While I do find a great deal of pleasure in getting one out each month itís easy to see why so many of our past editors get burned out. It takes a lot of time to get the newsletter out each month, especially when you have kids and a full time job. Itís nice to have a break from the newsletter every now and then. Jannie, thanks for stepping forward and helping out. You did a great job and it is appreciated!

 

TV Humor

Did you hear the one about the cross dresser who wanted to eat, drink and be Mary?

Youth Group Seeks Nominations for Board Members

Kaleidoscope Youth Coalition, central Ohioís leading agency serving the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (glbt) youth, is seeking people who would like to serve on its Board of Trustees. Individuals may nominate others, or self-nominate. Ideal candidates for the Board should posses the following characteristics:

--Ability to attend two meetings per month (each meeting typically runs for about two hours).

--Some experience raising money; either through Grant writing, individual solicitation, or event planning.

--A commitment to working on the issues that concern GLBT youth.

--Must be at least 22 years of age.

--Should feel comfortable representing the agency in public settings.

Previous Board experience is a plus. Women and people of color are encouraged to apply. All persons chosen for the Board will have to go through a criminal background check. Please send a letter detailing your interests in serving on the Board of Trustees to: Nominating Committee, Kaleidoscope Youth Coalition, PO Box 8104, Columbus, OH 43201. Screening of nominees will begin immediately and continue until all positions are filled.

 

EURO COURT RULES AGAINST TRANSSEXUALS

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on July 30 that Britain did not discriminate against two transsexuals when it refused to alter their birth certificates to reflect their new genders.

The court also said Kristina Sheffield and Rachel Horsham, both 52, do not have the right to marry men. Nations may restrict matrimony to one man and one woman "of biological origin," the court ruled.

"No one chooses to be like this," Sheffield said after the ruling. "I didn't suddenly wake up one morning and say, 'I wonder what it feels like being a girl.' I'm angry with the way I've been treated and the way transsexuals have been treated."

The European Court of Human Rights is the judicial organ of the Council of Europe, a grouping of 40 nations pledged to uphold human rights and cooperate in a variety of activities. The court enforces the 1952 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

British transgendered activists say the only other Council of Europe nations that do not recognize gender switches are Albania, Andorra and Ireland.

Policyís from the Manchester Police when dealing with Transsexuals and Transvestites

From ITMA!

 

Definitions: Transvestite:- a person who dresses in clothes of the opposite sex.

Transsexual:- a person who has the physical characteristics of one sex but with certain characteristics of the other sex. Surgery may have taken place and a person may exhibit features of both sexes. Potentially there is a wide variation in the stage of change from one sex to the other.

Officers who deal with transsexuals and transvestites in the course of their duties must ensure that they are treated with the same level of respect and dignity as any other members of the public.

If there is any doubt as to a persons gender they should be asked whether they are a transsexual or a transvestite.

If the person states that they are a transvestite, they should be treated as the gender which is registered at the time of birth. This must be done in a sensitive manner so as not to offend the dignity of the individual concerned.

If the person states that they are transsexual, they should be asked what their preferred gender is for the purpose of police procedures. They should then be asked to sign the custody record or other document. For example, when a stop search in the street takes place and the gender of the person being searched is in doubt, then a pocket note book entry should be made indicating their preference and they should be asked to sign it.

If the person is unwilling to make such an election the officer should try to determine the predominant lifestyle of the person. For example, if they appear to live predominantly as a woman, they should be treated as such.

If there is still any doubt, the officer will have to resort to dealing with the person according to the gender in which they were born.

Transsexuals and transvestites and persons of doubtful gender must always be accommodated in a cell or detention room on their own.

Once a decision has been made about what gender a transsexual or a person of doubtful gender is to be treated as, every officer having further contact with that person, should be advised of the gender that person is to be dealt with as. This is important so as to maintain the dignity of the individual and the officer(s) concerned.

Searching should be conducted in accordance with P.A.C.E. A technical breach of the codes could occur in that an officer of the opposite sex could be present, if the person searched as their preferred sex and not as the sex shown on their birth certificate. If such an action is shown to have taken into account the sensitivity of the subject in order to reduce the embarrassment of those present. It is believed that such a breach of codes of practice can be upheld to be justified.

This should only relate to transsexuals and custody officers should fully detail any such action and record the consent of the person being searched as to the preferred sex of the searching officer.

Experience in other forces has shown that where transsexuals are treated according to their preferred sex, they are more likely to be co-operative during their dealings with the police, for example, as a witness to a crime or being interviewed.

 

From Greater Manchester Police, Community Affairs Branch. Telephone: 0161 20 872 5050 ext. 62212 Fax: 0161 872 6633 20

POLICEMEN EXECUTE TRANSVESTITE IN BRAZIL

from Gain

 

Four military policemen in the city of Salvador (Bahia, Brazil), after humiliating and torturing two transvestite sex workers, forced them to undress and throw themselves into the sea, on the night of August 4th. One of them, "Luana" (Junior da Silva Lago) drowned and his body was found three days later in an advanced state of decomposition. The witness to the crime, the transvestite Joyce, is being protected by human rights organizations as her life is at risk. The same applies to the President of the Salvador Transvestites Association, Lena Oxxa.

The Grupo Gay da Bahia and the Salvador Transvestites Association held demonstrations in front of the Military Police barracks, resulting in the arrest and discharge of the four military assassins who are currently in prison awaiting trial. The lieutenant in charge of the patrol remains at large.

Between 1980-1997, 1600 homosexuals have been murdered in Brazil and only 5% of the killers went to trial.

Pride Night '98 at King's Island Amusement Park

 

Editorís Notes: I realize this was posted in the last newsletter, but since this event is so close to us (Cincinnati is less then 2 hours away), I felt I should run it again as a reminder. Please keep in mind this will be on the 4th Friday of the month, not the day of our regular meeting time. We will still have a meeting on September 26. Hope to see you there.

On September 25th, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Greater Cincinnati (GLCCGC) will host Pride Night '98 at King's Island amusement park. This event, expected to draw over 5000 people, provides the GLB community with an opportunity to celebrate and have fun together at a premier amusement park without having to fight huge crowds and long lines. "People can expect about a five minute wait time instead of an hour and half," said Dave Hughes, co-chair of Pride Night '98. "We can get together as a group and party, yet have the whole place to ourselves."

Mr. Hughes also explained that Pride Night '98 does not detract from the unofficial Pride gathering that takes place at King's Island each June. The September event serves both as a private party and as a fundraiser for GLCCGC. Since King's Island enters its off-season in September, GLCCGC can rent the entire park out at a lower price and then use the ticket sales to fund its organizational activities. In contrast, all the ticket sales at the June Pride gathering go to the park rather than the community.

 

Tickets for Pride Night '98 are available at Stonewall Columbus for $25. Tickets purchased at Stonewall will benefit both Stonewall Columbus and GLCCGC. You can also purchase tickets for $28.50 by calling Box Office Tickets at 1-800-494-TIXS or for $30 at the gate. The hours of the event are from 5 until 11PM, and the parking lot opens at 4PM. There will be live entertainment from regional GLB artists and performers at the park. For more information you can contact GLCCGC's web site atwww.gaycincinnati.com or e-mail pridenight98@yahoo.com.

Disney producing

gender-bending film

From GAIN

 

According to a report carried over Business Wire, Monday, July 13, 1998, Walt Disney Television has begun production of the television movie, "In Your Shoes," starring Vivica A. Fox, David Alan Grier and Rue McClanahan. The movie will air during the 1998-99 television season on ABC's "The Wonderful World of Disney." The film is described as "a topsy-turvy, gender-bending comedy in which a pro quarterback dad and feminist mom literally exchange personalities -- but not bodies -- thanks to their meddling children and some good old-fashioned New Orleans voodoo." In the course of the film, "a father has to learn that it's okay for a hero to be afraid; and a pregnant woman has to learn that it's not easy to be a professional football player."

The full story is available online, at

http://nt.excite.com:80/news/bw/980713/walt-disney-tv.

 

Death of a Transgender Woman

- A True Story

by Ray Jackson (Australia)

Belinda (not her real name) was arrested for drug possession and after a quick appearance before a magistrate was sent to the Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre (MRRC) at Silverwater. The MRRC is the new 900 bed gaol opened about a year ago with much fanfare that this was to be a user-friendly gaol, a safe gaol, a gaol that would greatly reduce, if not eliminate, deaths in custody.

Belinda was a recognized transgender who presented as a female, although born a male. She had progressed through the transition to the point of having all the physical appearances of a woman but was still at the pre-op stage, i.e. the final change of genitalia had not yet been made.

Instead of placing Belinda in a female prison - her designated sex - she was placed in a male prison. Because of her recognized need for protection she was placed in the strict protection pod at the MRRC, to

join two other transgender inmates and sixty odd male inmates. These strict protection inmates included pedophiles, vicious rapists and other inmates in need of strict protection.

The NSW Department of Corrective Services was in the process during this time (late last year) of reviewing their Transgender Policy but because such a review was in process, Belinda was treated and recognized, because of her birth sex, as a male prisoner, breasts and all!! The only official acceptance of her position was that she was to be placed in a single cell - if this was her request. She did.

Regardless of this wink-and-a-nod to duty of care towards transgender inmates, within three days Belinda had been allegedly raped twice (orally and anally) and hung herself on 27 December last year.

Belindaís situation is not unique, as transgender inmates suffer brutally at the hands of other inmates, custodial officers and staff. They are normally referred to as things or it and few have any understanding of their real needs. The alleged rape of Belinda occurred during daylight hours when the pod (part of the prison which houses inmates) is fully staffed and inmates are all over the pod exercising or involved in activities.

There are two witnesses to the rapes and statements have been made to the authorities investigating the suicide. This is normally not done, especially where the transgender inmates are concerned.

Discussions with other transgender inmates, along with meetings with the Gender Centre in Sydney opened up a world of absolute debasement and discrimination leveled at transgenders, whether incarcerated or not. Homophobia is bad enough, but the treatment meted out to transgenders is total. Very few so called normal people (should such exist) are

comfortable in accepting transgenders as individuals who have suffered a genetic error - a female psyche in a male body or a male psyche in a female body.

The System - whether capitalist or not - discriminates every day in every way against transgenders. In employment, medically, socially, in

every way possible they are discriminated against. Especially by the police, the courts and our gaol system.

They are put through every psychiatric and medical hoop merely because they need to change their birth sex to their preferred sex. Transgenders have the same human rights to a full and satisfying life as does every other person on this planet.

There is, at least, discussion between the Department of Corrective Services, Gender Centre, Anti Discrimination Board and even to the Indigenous Social Justice Association, among others, on obtaining human rights for transgender inmates, of whatever stage of transition. The new Transgender Policy has now been agreed to (with some reservations from some quarters) and is far in advance of the previous gaol policy.

Discussion are now being held with the gaol officers union - the Prisons Officers Vocational Branch of the Public Service Association as to the

implementation of the Policy into the NSW gaols. Custodial officers are known as a very conservative group and generally believe that gaols are becoming too soft, thus allowing the inmates to have too much freedom and too many rights.

The new Policy (still labeled DRAFT) sets out that self identification as a member of the opposite sex is the only criterion for identification as a transgender. Such identification covers police stations/lock-ups,

courts/court cells and all NSW gaols. Persons received into the custody of the Department of Corrective Services who self-identify as a transgender have the right to be housed in a goal appropriate to their gender of identification, subject to certain provisions being met, of course.

Firstly, all transgender inmates - at whatever stage of transition - will be received into the Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre (MRRC) for full induction screening, as was Belinda. Secondly, Case Management will then decide where the inmate is to go. Case Management is managed by custodial staff. The Department has many good and enlightened Policies. Their implementation is something else.

In Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg, there is a list of demands sought by transgenders on an international basis, called the International Bill of Gender Rights which was adopted on 17 June 1995. I strongly recommend the book to all who are interested in transgender issues.

Some of the demands are; the right to competent medical and professional care; the right of freedom from psychiatric diagnosis or treatment; the

right to form committed, loving relationships and enter into marital contracts; the right to conceive, bear or adopt children, to nurture and have custody of children and to exercise parental capacity.

 

The first two, I believe, do not exist in any custodial situation in Australia. Access for the demands above within the wider community is difficult to non-existent. This is due mainly to pressure from the Christo-fascists both within and without governments to do nothing except to harass transgenders, homosexuals, indeed, any group that does not fit their Christo-capitalist mould of family and normalcy.

Australia is currently lurching to the Right - led by a psycho-economic rationalist Howard, along with his Hanson alter ego, both spewing their own/same psychobabble - a psychobabble of exclusion for minority groups, whether racial, sexual, social or just different.

Feinberg gives us the solution in reminding us that;

"It not your lipstick that is oppressing me, or your tie, or whether you change your sex, or how you express yourself. An economic system oppresses us in this society and keeps us fighting each other, instead of looking at the real source of this subjugation"

And again;

"We can never throw enough people overboard to win approval from our enemies. Should we try to argue that weíre as normal as those who

organize against our civil (and human, my words) rights?"

The final word, or words, on the why, where and how of what is needed I leave to Frederick Douglas, a former Afro-American slave -

"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will!"

Belinda, we will continue to demand on your behalf.

Nothing Becomes a Man More Than a Woman's Face

From GAIN

 

According to a story by Natalie Angier appearing in the Tuesday, August 31, 1998 New York Times, recent scientific research has found that women are attracted more to men with feminized faces than to men with more stereotypically rugged, manly faces. The scientists had predicted that women would be most attracted to "traditional hallmarks of male dominance and maturity," such as a large jaw, squared-off face, heavy brow. Instead, researchers found women to be attracted to men with "a touch of girlishness," as in a slender nose, lightened brow, and so on.

Ian Penton-Voak of the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland said that when they first found the "preference for feminized male faces, nobody believed it, so we did it again, and again. The preference for a feminized face keeps coming up." Moreover, they have since replicated the research

among the hunter-gatherer peoples in the Amazon.

 

Canadian military to pick up

sex change tab

From GAIN

According to an article by David Gamble in the Ottowa Sun, Wednesday, September 2, 1998, Canadian Defense Minister Art Eggleton has approved a soldier's request to become a woman, and ordered the armed forces to pay for the sex change operation. The request was approved quietly earlier this week, on the recommendation of senior medical and personnel officers, thus setting a precedent under the defense department's medical plan. Previously, defense officials had rejected the request, recommending that the transsexual, who prefers to remain anonymous, quit the armed forces to have the sex reassignment surgery.

"It's a very unique situation," said Eggleton's spokesman Elaine McArdle said, adding that "[the individual] was diagnosed and I think for psychiatric reasons it was proven that it was in the best interest of the applicant." According to McArdle, since provincial health plans pay for SRS, defense officials felt they could not reject the request.

Over the past six years, the Ontario government has funded 46 SRS procedures, for a total of approximately $700,000. The head of the committee which recommended the surgery, Col. Scott Cameron, said that "This is a one-off. Clearly, this is not elective," adding that he does not expect to be inundated with similar requests. He continued, saying that, "There is a lot of misconception on the public's part. They think this is some kind of perversion. In fact, it's a very well-defined medical

disorder."

The approval has not escaped criticism. Reform MP Leon Benoit criticized the decision as "not acceptable," stating that "I have case after case of deserving people who are being denied pensions, health care and compensation from the Department of National Defense. And now the minister has the gall to approve thousands of dollars for a sex change operation."

 

The Dawn of a New Movement, part 1

From Mary Ann Horton

 

The Be All was held in Pittsburgh this year. I couldn't attend, but interesting stories are coming back from the participants.

Some of the people at the Be All are not trying to pass as women. Instead of presenting as women, they are presenting as men in dresses.

Meral Crane showed me a photo of a person at the Be All. The person in the photo looked like any other cross dressers: dress, wig, makeup. Too small to see in the photo, however, was a name tag reading "Glenn." Another button read "I am not a woman." Glenn is using his male name, male pronouns, and apparently the men's restroom.

Another person presented some of the time as Dee Dee, but upon meeting Glenn, changed his name tag to read David. I understand he did not wear a wig or makeup for the remainder of the conference.

Many of the participants expressed surprise, and discomfort, with the presence of men, presenting as men, with different degrees of trangendered presentation. It seems ironic that, in a safe space gathering of people intended to be supportive of gender variance, some people were not accepting of this presentation. But it was different, and it's natural

to have trouble accepting difference. The general public has trouble accepting our differences, too.

Dr. Richard Docter gave a moving speech about transgender acceptance. At the end, Glenn and David asked, publicly, about their being chastised for their presentations. Dr. Docter eloquently responded that we should accept all gender expressions not just our personal favorites.

Rachel Miller wrote later in her "Our Gender Family" column (#12, July 1998) that she "was so moved by this sequence of events that I washed out my great head of curls created by Rachel Galen, removed all my makeup, replaced Rachel with Richard on my name tag and went to dinner wearing my best Nordstrom dress. I was never more my true self than on Saturday night. It just felt right."

Transgendered men presenting as men in skirts is not new. It's been going on for centuries. For some reason, however, it is shunned in the transgender community. Despite this lack of acceptance, I occasionally encounter a cross dresser with a male name and not trying to pass.

Earlier this decade, I met a different Glenn on CD-FORUM, an Internet mailing list. Glenn describes himself as a "bearded straight male public transvestite computer programmer. ... Needless to say, with my full beard I don't pass. (The line that seems to best set the mood for imagining what things are like for me is the one I hear often from small children in the grocery store: 'Mommy, that man is wearing a dress!')" He signs his e-mail "Glenn."

At an Interweave conference (the GLBT organization of the Universalist Unitarian Church) last November, I met Bill. Bill wore a beautiful gown, heels, and hose. He wore light makeup and earrings, with no facial hair. His hair was long and brushed straight back, with a fluffy style that was very appropriate for a woman. His hairline was receding in a typical male pattern, leaving no doubt he was a man.

I told Bill how much I admired his courage and presentation.

So what's happening here? Is a movement of men in dresses emerging?

In my role as a transgender activist, I find myself entering unknown territory. I am out as a cross dresser at work, and people are mostly polite about it. I have been to work at Lucent facilities as Mary Ann on a few occasions. (More on this in a future column.) This seems to be almost a first. Many transsexuals have transitioned at work, and we understand how we would like that to go. Cross dressers cross dressing at work is almost unheard of. But I like to think that in 50 years, it will be commonplace for cross dressers to be open about who they are, with cross dressing occasionally at work to be accepted.

Next month we'll explore the paradigms of dual identities or men in skirts, and how they fit into society.

 

Article from November, 1989--

The Stairway to Femininity

By Tanya in the Alpha Omega Outreach

Females, when climbing stairways, always place their entire foot on each step, even if it involves turning the foot slightly sideways so that both the ball and heel are supported. Males, whether wearing hiking boots or high heels tend to climb stairs using only the balls of their feet, letting the heels dangle in mid-air.

 

After reading this, I began watching both sexes and itís 100% true. And 99% of CDs it seems, climb stairs like the males they are rather then the females they wish to emulate. Itís a little thing but, then, it can be little things that give us away.

 

Childís Play -- Part IV

by Kelly Davidson

 

She led me back to the spare room and opened up the closet. From it she pulled out a large baby doll. The doll had long, dark hair and was wearing a diaper, rubber pants, and a fancy dress. Mrs. Smith also pulled out a box that contained extra dresses, diapers and accessories. As it turned out, the doll was one of those types where you fed it and it would then wet

itself. It hardly looked used.

"Here, this should be fun to play with," Mrs. Smith said with excitement as she handed me the doll. "Now you can be a mommy just like me."

While I had always liked the idea of dressing up and even acting like a little girl, I never had any interest in playing with dolls. In fact, I was embarrassed to even be holding it in front of her.

"A doll?" I said in a shocked voice. "Can't I play with something else? I mean, you don't expect me to play with an old doll, do you?"

"Why Susan, this just isn't any old doll. This is the type of doll that all little girls dream of playing with." Then she gave me a real big smile and said, "And do you know what the best part is, she is all yours, no one else's." I took little comfort in that last statement.

"But, but, I don't even know how to play with a doll. What am I supposed to do with it?" I asked, hoping this would get me off the hook.

"Well, first you give her a name....then you feed and change her. Lets see, next you can read her a book, I bet she would like that. Then you can give her a bath and make sure she is clean and dry. After that, you can dress her in a nightgown and rock her to sleep. Of course, you will need to sing to her," she added with a smile.

"Me, sing to a doll?" I protested. "I can't do that, I just can't."

"Sure you can." she replied back sweetly. "Susan, youíre going to find that this is a lot of fun if you give it a chance. I used to spend hours playing with my dolls and they couldn't do half the things that this one does. In fact, youíre a very lucky girl to have such a nice doll."

I didn't feel that lucky. I kept trying to think of a way out without hurting her feelings. "I really don't think I can do this very well . Maybe we should try something else."

"Now Susan," her voice becoming stern, which made me take notice. "Remember our deal. You agreed to be a good girl and do as I say. I've kept my part of the bargain, haven't I? Now it's your turn to listen to me." Then her voice became sweet and understanding again.

"Trust me sugar, you're going to enjoy yourself. Just give it a try, you will see. I know you will make a great mommy." She grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the living room. "Come on baby, you can play in the living room while I work on this quilt. And, if you're a good girl, maybe I'll teach you how to sew later on."

I took a place on the couch while Mrs. Smith sat in a rocker close by. After a few minutes of me just sitting there holding the doll under one arm, Mrs. Smith asked, "What did you decide to call your baby, Susan?" I felt my cheeks turn red. It was embarrassing enough to be holding doll, now I had to name it."

"I don't know?" I muttered, hoping she would get the hint and let me play with something else. But Mrs. Smith wasn't about to give up so fast. "Come on Susanna, give this a try. It would make me very happy. Remember our rules, be a good girl now."

I thought about it and sighed. "Okay, how about...Sally. Do you like that name mommy?"

"Sally is a very pretty name for your baby, Susan. But hold her closer, with both hands, she is not going to bite. And talk to her and let her know you love her."

I was totally embarrassed by this time but realized there was no way out. Trying to make the best of it, I lifted the doll up to my chest and started talking to her. Next I took out a bottle and began feeding my baby. I silently cursed the person who had designed such a doll. Mrs. Smith on the other hand just smiled at me from the rocker while working on

her quilt.

Time seemed to drag, every minute seemed like an hour. "How long would she make me do this?" I kept asking myself. "Not the whole afternoon. Perhaps once I did everything she had asked me to do I could play with something else, something I wanted to do.

After feeding the doll it's bottle, I checked the diaper and sure enough, it was wet. Instead of changing it, I pulled out the toy bathtub and filled it with water. Mrs. Smith brought me a washcloth and soap to use and allowed me to take off my gloves and put on her apron.

It was hard work washing the doll on my knees while wearing this fancy, Sunday school dress. The ruffles from the petticoat didn't cooperate and the dress wasn't made for kneeing. Somehow I managed to soap and rinse off the doll without getting my dress wet or dirty.

After drying off the doll, I faced the next hurtle, that of putting a new diaper on her. The problem was, I had never changed a diaper and didn't know how to put a new one on. In fact, these were real store brought diapers that you would buy for new-born infants. I hated to ask but I did: "Mommy, I don't know how to do this. Can you help me?"

"Sure I can honey. Here, let me show you." She laid the doll on the table and taught me how to do it. "Okay, you give it a try," as she gave the doll back to me. I did what she showed me and managed to get the baby doll diapered and then dressed in another outfit.

"Your baby looks tired Susan." Mrs. Smith said. "I think you need to give her a bottle and make her take a nap. Here, take my chair so you can sing her to sleep." Mrs. Smith moved her stuff to another chair and gently forced me into the rocker. I gave up trying to hold my dress down (from all the ruffles) and worked on holding the doll up while feeding it a bottle. Slowly I started to rock in the chair, hoping this would end soon.

"Come on dear." Mrs. Smith encouraged. "Sing to your baby. Let me hear your sweet voice honey." I gritted my teeth and softly started hum, then sing "Rock-a-by-baby" to the doll.

After my third repeat of the song, Mrs. Smith couldn't take it anymore. "Oh Susan," she said, her voice filled with pleasure. "You are so adorable sitting there. I have to get a picture of this". She grabbed her camera and took a few more shots of me. I, on the other hand, kept squeezing the bottle, trying to get the doll to drink faster. The sooner the bottle was done, the sooner I could lay the doll down and be done with it.

After what seemed like an eternity, the bottle was empty. I laid the doll on the couch and told Mrs. Smith that Sally was asleep. Of course I knew the diaper was wet but was hoping Mrs. Smith would forget so I wouldn't have to change her again.

"Oh, you can't leave your baby sleeping on the couch like that honey." An idea pop into her head. "Wait a minute, I'll be right back."

I heard her go into the basement and move some stuff around. A moment later she came back up the stairs dragging something behind her. "I thought it had been thrown away, but it wasn't," she said with happiness in her voice. "It used to be mine but I'm giving it to you. What do you think?"

It was an old baby buggy that had seen better days. The handle was rusty, the wheels were loose, and entire thing was filthy. Mrs. Smith got a wet towel and cleaned up the dirt. "It's old, but still in good shape honey. At least this way you can take your baby with you without having to carry her all the time."

After a few minute of cleaning, the buggy looked a lot better. Mrs. Smith tied a few ribbons to the outside of it and gave me an old baby blanket to cover up the doll with. I placed my doll into the buggy and covered her up. Then, Mrs. Smith had me push the baby buggy around the room while she watched with delight.

"Oh Susan," she said, "you look so sweet. If only we had time to go to the park, you could push your baby around on some of the paths they have there."

My mind went back to the park. I imagine pushing the baby buggy down a path dressed like I was. Being dressed this way wasn't too bad, but pushing a baby buggy with my doll in it, the image caused me to shiver. "Can I change now?"

Mrs. Smith looked at the clock and said, "No honey, I need you to wear this outfit a little while longer. In fact, I think it's time we freshen up your makeup, dear." She got up and led me back to her bedroom again. This time, Mrs. Smith seemed to put more care into making sure my hair and makeup was just right. I didn't know the reason but was about to find out.

 

We went back into the living room where Mrs. Smith made me repeat some of the things she had taught me that morning. I was drilled on the proper

way to walk, talk and sit like a young lady. When this was done Mrs. Smith got down on her knees and started fixing the bows and ribbons on my dress so everything was just right. Why all the fuss, I wondered. Was she planning to take more pictures? Little did I realize that for the next hour I was about to play the ultimate game of make-believe.

 

To be continued...

 

September 98

25 Pride Night '98 at King's Island Amusement Park

See article in this newsletter for information.

 

26 Crystal Club Meeting

 

30 - 10/4 Southern Comfort Conference

Atlanta, GA,

Southern Comfort Conference

P.O. Box 77591, Atlanta, GA 30357-1591

phone: (404) 633-6470 e-mail: info@sccatl.org or www.sccatl.org.