Limited transformation

A chance posting on a forum i frequent reminds me of a business – Transformation Ltd – that i’d guess most trans women are all too familiar with…and which most non-trans folk will never have heard of.

Its a place where you can go, as the label sugests, in order to transform. There you can buy clothes, shoes and wigs – as well as some slightly more esoteric paraphernalia such as breast forms and figure-enhancing supplements (not clear whether these are actually hormones, or something else). And you can stop by for “make-overs”.

And, i fear, T Ltd may have contributed to my putting my own transition back by many years.

The problem is: you need to get your head around how in the closet trans was even ten years ago – and also how closely associated it was with sexual exoticity.

When, finally, i was assessed for gender dysphoria, the general diagnosis was “long-term repressed”. Which was sort of true: and i am wary of rewriting my past history; but behind the blokish facade was always something else.

A fascination with gender issues and a fantasy life that returned, time and time again, to metamorphosis. So, now and then, i’d drop into “adult shops” and pick up magazines supposedly dealing with trans stuff…and recoil in horror from the highly sexualised matter presented, with its focus mainly on “forced transformation”, or the “chicks with dicks” end of the spectrum.

Which i won’t condemn: but which was so alien to me that each visit was followed by a total swearing off and a promise to self to be a good little fellow and put aside all that stuff forever. Six months later….

So, too, with Transformation Ltd. I’d visit from time to time: a nervous poking of my nose around the door and…what?

Its hard to get myself back into the mindspace now, but it was a mix of fascination and revulsion. This caricatured feminity…the obsession with red and black shiny stuff, high heels and short skirts…this wasn’t me, couldn’t be me…could it?

At the same time, i remember long pauses in front of the wig array: eyeing up the beautiful flowing locks; a mix of fear and …what i didn’t get at the time…total loss.

I wanted…was desperate for…something. But back in the bad old days, the overlap between trans and kink was a massive, massive obstacle, to understanding.

Its probably why i transitioned so late: why, once i began, i eschewed all hint of artificialness, preferring to look weird than opt for the easy option of wigs and breast forms; and why even now i am sometimes so, so jealous of those transitioning today for whom there is the internet and information and a much clearer picture of what the options are.



12 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Liz Church said,

    You need to be careful with Transformation. Lawyers on speed-dial apparently. Allegedly. Or something…

    • 2

      janefae said,

      Hmmm. Thanks for the head’s up…though i do hope no-one over there would read the above as having a go at their fundamental offering.

      My point, really, has a lot more to do with how, until recwently, there was so little information around and, in the public arena, so little distinction made between the various forms of trans “out there”.

      Transformation Ltd was wrong for me…which is not to say its not doing a thoroughly positive service for all those for whom it is the right answer.

      The trick is understanding what it is you need, are looking for…and being able to try out all the options available.

      If any lawyers happen to be reading this, feel free to get in touch and politely request amends to anything written that factually misrepresents. Otherwise, twould be a sad day if we, as a community, were unable to discuss matters that affect us all very deeply.


  2. 3

    Looking at their site, they know they are targeting a niche audience and they know that most of their customers would rather use the internet to order stuff than walk into one if their shops so they sell items above and beyond a reasonable selling price, the site has a very slutty or a naughty feel to it. Most of the items show cis-gendered models and half the time they do not show the actual item they are selling.

    They are the equivalent of motorway service stations, they are banking on a captive audience and will happily inflate the selling price because of it.

    • 4

      janefae said,

      Perhaps. Though i’d say that is true of any area that becomes viewed as “sexuality”.

      I write regularly about a range of sexualities: will probably be doing a review of the annual Erotica jamboree later this week. And (i am not smirking as i write this…oh no!) am likely to be organising a road test of a successor to the Hitachi magic wand later this month. 🙂

      One thing that has always struck me about the wonderful world of bdsm is how “specialist suppliers” for particular items are often able to inflate prices way above the High St for similar, simply by virtue of the embarrassment factor. If tying up your partner is what floats your boat, you can obtain all manner of chains and ropes from fetish suppliers – or you can obtain almost identical items for half the price at B&Q.

      Caveat emptor and all that…


  3. 5

    paula madcat panther said,

    tread with care.. I can tell you why privately but not in a public space 🙂

  4. 6

    Rebecca Shaw said,

    I see from Companies House records that Transformation (Publishing) Ltd has been dissolved, and that Stephanie Booth (formerly Lloyd) is no longer a director of Transformation (Retail) Ltd, which now appears to be a dormant company. I for one won’t be losing any sleep over their passing!

    • 7

      janefae said,

      OK, folks. I’ve obviously walked inadvertently into some sort of minefield here.

      ANyone who wishes to explain to me why the frisson at mere mention of the company name, please feel free to drop me a line via e-mail or facebook.


  5. 8

    Jennifer said,

    I dont believe I could have put it any better. So here I am still in the closet with a ton of baggage wondering where next. Keep up the good work Jane, your blogs are a source if sanity and inspiration.

  6. 9

    Shirley Anne said,

    I agree with Megan Abigail. Transformation Ltd is (now was?) a commercial organisation geared to make money out of the system by cornering a niche market. Their prices (as far as I know, I never indulged) were always too high when similar services offer them more reasonably.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  7. 10

    Jenny Alto said,

    Y’know, it takes amazing brand awareness for no less than five trans people to tell a ‘new girl’, as I was when I came out of the closet, about a niche supplier.

    The thing is though, brand awareness only works in your favour when potential new customers like me aren’t advised by their peers to avoid like the plague.

    With brand awareness like that it’s an idiot that has lawyers on speed dial and a wise person who hires a retail marketing guru instead.

  8. 11

    Rebecca Shaw said,

    The Albany Clinic, part of Transformation’s business operations, offers “professional medical services to transsexuals”

    Below is a links in to The Albany Clinic’s diagnostic tool to help users determine if they are “transsexual, transvestite or shemale”. I cannot imagine any body which provides professional medical services in the field of gender dysphoria would ever use the term “shemale” let alone claim to be able to diagnose its incidence.

    • 12

      Meggy said,

      No comment ;), I found that place ages ago and the wording just put me off along with the quick fix feel.

      Funny how CX never asked me any of those questions 😉

      I just had another quick look at the site to see if it’s changed, nope the Gallery is just as graphic.

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