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Thread: Ever wonder what i was like to be a CD back in the 1950s or 1960s

  1. #1
    Silver Member darla_g's Avatar
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    Ever wonder what i was like to be a CD back in the 1950s or 1960s

    So overall we have it pretty good these days. One can get all dolled up and go to a club or restaurant and you won't get thrown in jail! How nice. Ru Paul's drag race is even on TV

    I ran across a few things i wanted to share about how things used to be.
    Back in the 1950s in a place like Columbus Ohio something like this could happen. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/...ssing-laws-u-s

    https://www.history.com/news/stonewa...e-article-rule

    But it wasn't all bad, if you never heard of Casa Susanna this seems like it would be a great summer getaway https://www.thestar.com/news/insight...-was-safe.html

    https://www.thestar.com/content/dam/...fe/susanna.jpg

    Its good to know where we have come from, so never forget. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor..._United_States
    I remember back in early 80s meeting someone who was much older than me who told me scary stories of what the scene was like in NYC. horrifying
    Last edited by char GG; 01-25-2021 at 09:53 PM. Reason: The rule is 5 links per post, sending PM

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    Aspiring Member Geena75's Avatar
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    I think of the 1967 film "The Producers" in the sequence when they go to get a director for their show. The guy comes out in a dress, and Gene Wilder's character just freaks out over it. Crossdressing was obviously not considered acceptable behavior.

    I suppose it's no wonder the shame I felt in the 60's when trying on my sister's thrown out pantyhose.

  3. #3
    Gold Member alwayshave's Avatar
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    Darla, Thanks for posting. I really liked the history.com article.
    Please call me Jamie, I always_have crossdressed, I always will, "alwayshave".

  4. #4
    Member SarahBJackson's Avatar
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    I think that it would be very difficult to CD in the fifties or sixties because the clothes and shoes were not big enough for me.

  5. #5
    Silver Member darla_g's Avatar
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    What i found interesting is that Female Impersonators seemed to be quite popular dating back to the 1890s. So that was acceptable but god forbid someone showed up at the theater that way!

    https://wellcomecollection.org/artic...DpbxAAAItBfFd8
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catego..._impersonators
    https://repository.brynmawr.edu/cgi/...t=history_pubs
    https://news.sfsu.edu/when-cross-dre...-francisco-law
    Last edited by char GG; 01-25-2021 at 09:54 PM. Reason: One link included picture of bare breasts

  6. #6
    Aspiring Member LelaK's Avatar
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    It was often considered funny back then to crossdress, i.e. a male dressed like a female. Ralph on Green Acres was a female dressed like a male, but that didn't seem outrageous, just kind of funny. I started crossdressing back then, about 1958. I didn't do it much, but I enjoyed it guilt-free when I did. I got to crossdress in plays a couple times, which was considered funny. But I enjoyed the feeling.
    T-shirt says: "Hi, I Crossdress!"

  7. #7
    The Anima Corrupt Wen4cd's Avatar
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    Everything i know about CDing in the 50's and 60's I learned from Pink Floyd. :O

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpQkzb78pMg

  8. #8
    Miss Conception Karren Hutton's Avatar
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    Hey! I started dressing in the 50's! lol And had my first trip out of the house enfemme in 1966... Those were the days... Before pantyhose were invented... all the women wore girdles and dresses (no jeans!!) I remember finding a Look Magazine with an article about transvestites of New York city and it was that moment I realized I was not alone...

    Thanks for sharing, Darla... and reminding me how old I'm getting.... sigh....
    I reject your reality and substitute my own!:

  9. #9
    -1.#QNaN Lydianne's Avatar
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    Occasionally, an in-practice-depricated law shows up in times it wasn't written for, and it leaves you thinking: "What the...?!" 🤨.


    Attempted misappropriation of an inapplicable law on a person that was dressed unisex ( and had clothing receipts to prove it ), and then when that didn't work, leaving the person at the mercy of a street gang..... all in the name of "appropriateness". Awful!

    How good they looked though! 👏. It's not as though you could just browse a billion different styles, products and tutorials per minute from the comfort of your own living room back then.


    Linda P. sent me this one around a year ago. A bit more cheerful than the history link ( the end is a bit sad though ):

    https://archive.org/details/UCLABehindEveryGoodMan

    "Produced several years before the historic Stonewall uprising for LGBT rights in 1969, director Nikolai Ursin's gently-activist short Behind Every Good Man (c. 1967) provides an illuminating glimpse into the life of an African-American trans woman. In strong contrast to the stereotypically negative and hostile depictions of transgender persons as seen through the lens of Hollywood at the time, the subject of Ursin's independent film is rendered as stable, hopeful and well-adjusted . . . "


    - L.

  10. #10
    Member susanmichelle's Avatar
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    I found out when I was around 10 years old my great grandmother was a opera singer with the highest vocal range in the world could hit high c and break glass plus sing just like a canary. Main thing was she played vaudeville and dressed in beautiful gowns as well. Funny thing is I wasn?t dressing then didn?t start until 1982. When I was 10 it was 1962. Thing is when I look back at pictures of her afterwards I wondered how I?d look in the beautiful clothes she wore back then.

  11. #11
    Senior Member mbmeen12's Avatar
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    Casa.jpg

    Brave folks they were....
    Escapism isn't necessarily bad, but is definitely unhealthy in the long term. While helpful in the short term, things will degrade over time. At some point, the escapee will have to face the issue. Things simply blowing over isn't really going to happen in many situations.

  12. #12
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    The biggest difference between then and now, of course, was the lack of an Internet, which is a gold mine for CDers. The term crossdresser was not in common use, so when I went to the libarary for information, I had to look for material about transvestism. And there was no on-line shopping or companies like Amazon to relieve me of the stress of going into a department store to buy women's clothes. I bought a lot of "gifts" for fictional girlfriends.

    Occasionally the Ed Sullivan Show featured performances by the Princeton Triangle Club, an all-male musical troop that featured guys in dresses, heels and fishnets doing chorus lines. Whenever they were on, I had to fake disintetest in the performance so that my parents didn't catch on. I actually thought about applying to Princeton, but we couldn't afford it.

    Bottom line: Things are infinitely better now.

  13. #13
    Reality Check Krisi's Avatar
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    I once saw part of an old movie in black and white, set in the 1920s where two out of work male musicians dressed as women and joined an all female orchestra (band). I didn't get to see it all so I don't know how it turned out.

    I imagine crossdressing was much more difficult in years gone by, but apparently it has been going on for a long time. I also wonder if there are crossdressers in the mid east where laws are much different than in the western world.
    Krisi

  14. #14
    Aspiring Member Star01's Avatar
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    I was born in 1951 and I can concur that the 5o?s and 60?s were different times. The first time I got into women?s clothes at 13 I had no idea that people actually did that, I thought I was alone. I live in a typical Midwest smaller town and have never seen a crossdresser in public here. I would guess that we would prefer to go to the closest big city where it tends to be more welcoming.

    These smaller towns are still not very welcoming and I doubt they ever will be.

  15. #15
    Silver Member LilSissyStevie's Avatar
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    My first attempt at CDing was 1959, I think.

    There was Ed Wood's Glen or Glenda (1953) free on Youtube. Some say it's the worst movie ever made. That's what makes it so good.

    https://youtu.be/_EDK_GrkfHI

  16. #16
    Gold Member Helen_Highwater's Avatar
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    Darla,

    Thanks for posting, an interesting read.

    I feel it's hard to overestimate the debt owed to Stonewall for moving things forward.
    Who dares wears Get in, get out without being noticed

  17. #17
    Exploring NEPA now Cheryl T's Avatar
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    No, I never wondered what it was like back then...
    That's because I lived it and don't need to wonder.

    I began in the mid 50's when women wore dresses almost all the time. Beautiful bras, nylon panties, girdles and corsets and of course seamed hose as pantyhose weren't a thing yet (they arrived late 50's early 60's).
    You didn't speak about this to anyone or you would be ostracized. Drag Queens were the big item in the City and in the 60's Female Mimics were popular. There was derision and shame, guilt and fear of discovery.
    Yes, I don't need to wonder, I was there, I felt all those things. I feared discovery, I hid from everyone.
    I salute the brave ladies that paved the way so that I can be me today. I wish I had had the courage to be one of them back then.
    Wear what makes you feel Confident !

  18. #18
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    I'm 73. I was born and raised in New York City. There may have been some levity on the big screen towards men who wore women's clothing, but, essentially cross dressing men were outcasts. Yes, there was no internet. There really was no way for cross dressers to easily connect with others. I have to look at the 1950's and 1960's as a pre-teen and teenager. Maybe, if you were older you were able to connect with others. But, basically as a teenager you went to school, and, if lucky you had an after school part time job. It was thrown out as common knowledge that men who wore women's clothing were homosexuals, although you never heard that term. You heard queers, faggots, fruits and many other degrading words and phrases. Gay men and cross dressers were fair game for violence and job and social discrimination. Maybe the Stonewall riots made an impression and were able to occur because NYC was 8,000,000+ people. With 8,000,000 people it is easy to get a quorum of anything and everything. My grandparents lived north of NYC in a small town before it became a NYC suburb. Any sexual minority did not stand a chance. Of course, there was the guilt by association which I think is still prevalent these days. Have a cross dresser as a friend and you must be one too.

    The biggest negative aspect of the 1960's was lack of knowledge. To be told endlessly cross dressers (transvestite back then) were "queers and faggots" did not play well in my mind. How could a teenage boy who lusted after girls and movie starlets be gay. Totally confusing. And of course, one had to conceal one's thoughts and behavior. My parents showed their hatred for gays and lesbians and cross dressers. It was the same with other minorities. If you think NYC was a hub of welcoming liberals, throwing their arms open to all, it wasn't. That would belong in the "lounge" section.

    It does not take much to figure out why men kept their secret from girl friends and wives.

  19. #19
    Senior Member BrendaPDX's Avatar
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    Thank you Darla. Too often we take for granted what others had to fight for. If I was in that time era I hope I would have been as brave. Brenda

  20. #20
    Member Marguarite's Avatar
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    Thank You Darla,

    We all need to appreciate those that have come before us and paved the way.

  21. #21
    Member KrissyTN's Avatar
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    Krisi,

    The movie is "Some like it hot" and it stars Jack Lemmon & Tony Curtis. It is a great film! The men witness a St. Valentines day massacre type of event and need to go under cover, so they end up joining an all girls band heading south. They meet Marilyn Monroe along the way, and one of them falls in love with her. The other is courted by an old rich man when they get to FL. I highly recommend it!

    Quote Originally Posted by Krisi View Post
    I once saw part of an old movie in black and white, set in the 1920s where two out of work male musicians dressed as women and joined an all female orchestra (band). I didn't get to see it all so I don't know how it turned out.

    I imagine crossdressing was much more difficult in years gone by, but apparently it has been going on for a long time. I also wonder if there are crossdressers in the mid east where laws are much different than in the western world.

  22. #22
    Member Lucey's Avatar
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    Quote... Cheryl T, No, I never wondered what it was like back then... That's because I lived it and don't need to wonder.

    Fully agree with your statement.

    During those days, there were some very dark day's for me personally back then questioning who & what I was as a person.

    Since everything was hidden & forbidden for me, with no other means or persons to asking questions to, without giving your self away.

    I'm happy with what I can do freely today, while leaving the past behind me.

    Brenda Lee... People all around but I don't hear a sound. Just the lonely beating of my heart
    Last edited by Lucey; 01-26-2021 at 11:50 AM.

  23. #23
    Aspiring Member Star01's Avatar
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    I wonder if the 60?s version of some like it hit was a remake of the 20?s movie? I watched the Jack Lemmon Tony Curtis one but never a 1920?s version of that story line. Or are we saying that it was set in the 20?s?

  24. #24
    Silver Member Aunt Kelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krisi View Post
    I once saw part of an old movie in black and white, set in the 1920s where two out of work male musicians dressed as women and joined an all female orchestra (band). I didn't get to see it all so I don't know how it turned out.
    That sounds like "Some Like It Hot, a 1959 Billy Wilder film starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe. The reason for their joining the band is a little different (no spoilers here), but the very same plot.
    "Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it will always get you the right ones."
    -- John Lennon

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  25. #25
    Sunshine Gal AngelaYVR's Avatar
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    This thread topic is why I get irritated with people on here who say things like “it’s not fair that I can’t wear a skirt in public and women and can wear trousers!” Gay people and crossdressers of yore made the sacrifice to get where we are today, which is a giant leap forward for which I am grateful (for the CD part myself and for my gay friends the other). It takes courage and sacrifice to shift opinions and laws.

    Now, if we are talking about the access to great clothing back then, for that I would definitely take a trip in a time machine!

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