I was pretty obvious as a kid. Labeled as a sissy and abused from when I first started going to school.
I started fully dressing up around ten or so but the role-play had started much earlier.
I was busted and labeled by my parents when I was thirteen and they found some reason to bust me or yell at me for being a teen queen just about weekly until I left home for good seven years later.
When they first caught me dressing up, they started accusing me of having sex with men. They also warned me that unless I seriously butched up people would know I was queer just by looking at me.
In 1960s, America that meant the police could arrest me for being and make up something.
But, it was also a time when the mythic three items of non-specified clothing could mean the difference in being arrested for impersonation or simply being abused by the police.
When I was 15, they found some clippings I had of April Ashley’s life to that point. They waved them in front of me asking if that was what I thought I was.
I said, “That’s what I am, isn’t it?”
A few months later and another bust for something and my parents laid down rules. I wasn’t to have any boys in the house when one of them wasn’t home. And when my mother was home and I had a boy from school over we weren’t allowed to go up stairs to my room.
My mother told me, “You look and act more like a girl than a boy. If that is how you are going to act then you are going to be treated like a girl.”
Ironically, was already a surrogate big sister for my brother and did the chores an oldest daughter would do.
The next summer my mother asked me to help her do some canning. She told me that one of the neighbors had told her that, because I was more like a girl than a boy, she never worried about her daughter and me being close friends. She had also told my mother that I was more help around the house than both her daughters were.
My mother then said we had to have a talk she never expected to make and wasn’t sure of how to make.
She told me that she had hoped I would out grow wanting to be a girl but I was growing up and becoming more and more obvious.
She asked if I knew certain girls at school who were considered easy. She told me that they didn’t actually have to have sex to get that reputation. “People talk.” she said.
People already talk about you. You’ve been called sissy since you first went to school. There will be boys who will try to get you to do things with them. If you even think about it they will lie and tell everyone you made a pass at them. Even if they approached you.
Men beat up and kill people like you. Some of them pretend they are like you and if you try anything then they will hurt you. Or they will tell everyone and this being a small town you will have to leave home.
She asked me if any of the boys had tried anything and I told her that this one boy would try to get me to wrestle and I didn’t like it because he would rub against me like a dog trying to hump your leg.
She told me to be careful of him because he would try to get me to do something and if I did once I would have to keep on doing it for him or he would talk.
She also told me I should watch how I walked and stood because I was sending out signals that I was available.
The beatings I had received as a child coupled with my mothers warnings along with hearing guys talk about rolling queers kept me a virgin until I was 20 and was ready to actually leave home.
I was far wiser when I finally did have sex with a man than I was when my mother gave me the big talk. I had several years of getting to know the world. Time to learn how to avoid danger. When I finally lost my virginity it was to a man I met near Sheridan St Station in Greenwich Village about 100 feet from where the Stonewall Rebellion would take place a couple of years later.