Social clubs are the mainstay of the transvestite scene. They are invaluable sources of cameraderie, style advice, wisdom and wit. Crucially, they also have changing facilities. There are two main clubs, both in Dublin.
The TH (a.k.a. TrannieHaven) (https://www.facebook.com/groups/219396958260074/) is the bigger of the two, with smart premises in the basement of a Georgian house in Dublin 2. It usually opens on Friday and Saturday nights. The TH may be a little intimidating for some beginners. The club welcomes Admirers, men who are attracted to transgenders, and their presence may be disconcerting to some. It has to be said however that Amanda, who runs the club, tolerates no nonsense and ensures that nobody misbehaves!
The Gemini Club (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gemini-Transvestite-and-TS-support-club/224238177594055) is also located in the basement of a Georgian house , but in Dublin 1. The Gemini is smaller and cosier than the TH. With its patina of twenty years of stray bits of diamante and occasional lost eyelashes, it is loved by many as the original home of transvestites in Ireland. The Gemini is probably the least intimidating for beginners. Natalie Conroy, who runs the club, is a “genetic girl”, a Dublin grandmother who just loves all transgender people and who has never made a profit despite many years of business-savvy trannies telling her that she’s too nice. The Gemini usually only opens on Friday nights.
Dressing services are another important resource. Many beginner transvestites don’t have clothes, shoes or a wig, not to mention needing serious help with makeup. There are a number of well-established dressing services. Contact us for recommendations. Their quality can be uneven.
All it takes to claim to be a dressing service is a someone with an apartment and a makeup box, so perhaps it’s worth noting that dressing services can have different outlooks. Crossdressing is still seen by many as a taboo activity and those who accommodate it sometimes see synergies with other taboo activities. If you’re ok with that, fine. But if you would prefer to be dealing with an operation whose activities would survive an audit by your life partner, don’t hesitate to ask questions before getting involved.
Another question worth asking in advance is whether the dressing service will teach you to do makeup or simply make you over. Dressing services are businesses: To be fair, the girls don’t actually get a huge amount per hour, but applying makeup is time-consuming. So if you don’t have a lot of money, it’s probably better after some initial makeovers to aim to buy your own wig, clothes etc. and do your own makeup.
However, where saving money is concerned, there is one area where dressing services are under-utilised: Help with shopping. Transvestites starting out often end up buying lots and lots of stuff that doesn’t fit or looks awful and ends up getting thrown out. In this context, paying a dressing service for consultancy can produce major savings in the long run. Furthermore, a dressing service can protect your privacy: Many transvestites do not want to risk their privacy by shopping in public or having mail-order parcels arrive at home.
If you’re comfortable buying online and having it delivered to your home, googling can give you much better information than we can. However you want to do your own shopping in person in Ireland, we can give you a few pointers:
Wigs can sometimes be bought from dressing services, but if you’re looking for a specialist wig supplier we would recommend Lynda Murphy of Wigwam
087 281 8961
Shoes can be very hard to find in large sizes: If you’ve got small feet, count your blessings! The high street chain with the largest sizes is Evans, with shoes up to size UK10, stretchable to UK11 at a pinch. Their Irish outlets can be found via their store locator on www.evans.co.uk
People to talk to
If all you want to do is talk to somebody, we can suggest a few options:
To talk to other transvestites online, try Transvestites Ireland on Facebook, run by Beth Goode:
For free advice and reassurance, the best person to talk to is Natalie Conroy, who runs the Gemini Club.
087 762 1869
For sympathetic professional advice, we would recommend Trish Murphy. Trish is a psychotherapist.
087 234 0666
If you're feeling down and need help in a hurry, there is always the Samaritans.
Freephone 116 123
Special mention has to go to the long-running Belfast Butterfly Club, a veritable institution on the Northern Irish scene (http://www.belfastbutterflyclub.co.uk/nojava/index_nojava.htm)
For information on other resources in Northern Ireland, see TransgenderNI (http://www.transgenderni.com/)
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