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Dressing up is a sort of escape

Category: Blogger's Corner, Women, transgender, comfort, discard

Dressing up is a sort of escape

FOR many children a teddy bear is just for love and comfort; discarded during their later years.

But for Lesley Lant, at age seven, it opened up very different possibilities.

It arose his curiosity in women’s clothing.

Lesley, now 54, of Knightthorpe Road, Loughborough, has been a transgender man for the last 20 years.

But it was at age seven when he got his first taste of feeling female.

He told the Echo: “In my personal case it is routed in early childhood, which started with particular items of clothing. At about seven is my earliest clear recollection.

“My teddy had a hole in it and inside I found all these nylon stockings.

“It was a safe way to stuff toys.”

“Mum saw me wearing them and took them off, but I got hooked on them. It was progressive.

“I was always curious, but once I started, I was hooked. It is subconsciously in you. It’s maybe something you are born with.”

But despite having this clear desire to dress up, it wasn’t until Lesley was 24-years-old, that he took the plunge and showed the world his female side.

“Mum was upset more than father and came to the conclusion I was gay.”

But Lesley says he would consider himself bisexual.

“I was living in London when I went out cross dressed. I got a very neutral reaction. “Exaggerated make-up and big wigs and clothing – that’s not for me. It’s fine, but I want to look like a normal female.”

Lesley, who changed his name from Sebastian 22-years-ago, studied Industrial Maths at Loughborough University and is now a market researcher.

He also attends All Saints’ Church in Thorpe Acre.

He says that Loughborough, which has been his home for the last 15 years, is a very open place; a place where many transgender people live and work.

“It is something that people are more open about now,” Lesley says.

“If you are in Carillon Court shopping centre and watch passersby you will notice quite a few transgender people.

“It is not as unusual as people would think.”

He says Loughborough’s bars and restaurants are very accepting of the transgender community.

And the only problem he comes across is finding suitable footwear. He is size 11.

So, what is it about being a woman that is so enjoyable, I ask?

“It is to do with feel rather than look. For women it is appearance which is essential.

Make up is just part of her routine, but for me it is something that is special and I look forward to. It is a sort of escape. But it is not an accident of nurturing or childhood.”

He says the first time he went out was “exhilarating”.

And while there is an “adrenaline rush”, he does not dress up for attention.

He said: “There is a reluctance to admit to it, but one in 100 men cross-dress.

Lesley has had three appointments in Leicester for gender reassignment, also known as a sex change.

He says he has thought about it, but doctors believe that he would not adjust to the treatment.

But Lesley is happy as himself.

Sometimes he will go to work as a female, other days he won’t.

In summer, he will dress as a woman two or three times a week, depending on the weather.

He says: “If I am swimming at the university, they have unisex changing rooms, and it is a nice day, I might wear a skirt.”

So which do you prefer, I ask?

“Being a male is easier and less of a bother, but being in a female role is more interesting. I can understand the way women see things but I don’t have a female psyche.”

He adds: “If you want to do it you should bite the bullet.”

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email info@vercida.com for more information.

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