Co-Founder and WayOut host Vicky Lee
Vicky discovered the joys of the London’s Tranny scene back in 1987. Trannying around The Philbeach Hotel, Ron Stormes parties, and any thing promoted in Time Out as “dress to impress”. She met Steffan Whitfield at The Kensington Roof Gardens in 1991 where Vicky was a regular every Sunday night. After an invitation from Steffan to Fortnam & Mason for afternoon tea the partnership clicked. Vicky soon started working with Steffan in 1992 in Steffan’s Dragmania show and on promotions including 14 weeks at London’s Hippodrome working for a gay night called ‘Bolts’ for Nicky Price.
Steffan and Vicky never did get paid – but they learnt an awful lot.
The experience proved that Steffans imagination, creativity and network of contacts, married with Vicky’s multi-skilled talents, understanding of the fledgling transgender scene, enthusiasm and organisation was an amazingly powerful potion. This together with the respect that they had for each other through thick and thin enabled them to co-found The WayOut Club which they hosted side by side until Steffan’s un-timely death from cancer in 2005.
Vicky continues to host the club with the ever present spirit of Steffan and with the love and help of her team…
Giles (aka Miss Sarah Lloyd), Jamie (aka DJ Titch and Mis Fit), Miss Kitty and Vicky’s life partner Lesley (aka Miss Lelly).
Vicky is a contributor to a number of magazines and has been featured and appeared on many television programs. She is an advisor to ‘Forum Magazine’. She has contributed to a number of authority ‘Diversity Forums’ including the Metropolitan Police and the City Police. Vicky has been honoured and thrilled to judge a number of top class transgender pageants. She has given talks and helped present stage events at ‘Sparkle’ transgender celebration.
At a time before the internet, Vicky Lee’s series of ‘Tranny Guide’ books did a tremendous amount to expand awareness of the opportunities and scale of “transgender” activity and helped the transgender scene mature. In 2008 Vicky Lee was presented with TWO ‘Sparkle’ TG awards
- first a personal ‘Sparkle’ TG award for ‘Lifetime Achievement’ and ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Transgender community’
- second the ‘Sparkle’ TG award for ‘The Best Transgender Night Club’
These awards were voted for on the Sparkle’ web site by thousands from all around the world.
Vicky also runs The WayOut Publishing Company which grew from ’The Transvestites Guide to London’ in 1992 written together with Caroline Egerton. This first slim volume with no pictures were sold from club to club from their handbags. This first book became to ‘The Transvestites Guide to London’ which in 1995 became the annual international ’Tranny Guide’. In 2005 Vicky published two books one an encyclopedia of ideas that includes some of Vicky’s biography and second the ultimate guide to the tranny world, her ‘Transgender AtoZ. Currently the publishing company concentrates on the internet and is helping a variety of businesses with web sites and promotion.
Two of her “non tranny” web sites that she looks after are Greenlow ATV and Kennels - Paul Whitton Music
Vicky has also published a number of books
HEorSHE? by Vicky Lee
Available now Vicky’s latest book ‘HEorSHE? by Vicky Lee is an uplifting compendulem of thoughts with 100s of pictures in full colour. This is a must read book for anyone interested in – or studying the transgender scene. Vicky has now distilled her well qualified thoughts and advice into her new book HEorSHE? subtitled “The view is better when your on the fence”. This subtitle is in reference to Vicky’s belief that the duality of being transgendered provides an enhanced life experience – if you let it. Part Vicky Lee’s auto biography with supporting contributers biographies. Part encyclopedia of tips, with answers to many questions about the why’s and wherefores of cross-dressing and transgender. An expose of the creativity unleashed through the transgender experience. A must buy for anyone wanting to understand gender confusion and gender joy… Tell me more and the opportunity to order online…
Available now ’Transgender AtoZ’. This is her international guide to the transgender scene worldwide with personal reports from most countries. This book aims to provide an awareness of the scale, and diversity . 30 to 40 years ago I remember the pain of thinking I was the only person in the world with transgender thoughts running around in my mind. At that time I had no name for my thoughts but I knew I had to be careful who I shared them with. When I found that there were people like me in every area in the world I was amazed and inspired”. Now this book with 286 pages, 1000,s of pictures (black and white). Exceptional reports, Super Star reports, international reports, business profiles, personal profiles, detailed listings of events, shops services and places to go. This book is a travel guide, but far more importantly It is an INSPIRATION – as it clearly shows that cross-dressing and transgendered people exist in abundance world-wide … Tell me more and the opportunity to order on line…
The Tranny Guide
Until the internet exploded this book became the world’s most detailed and comprehensive guide to the cross-dressing scene selling over 5000 copies each year. But as the internet grew, sales shrank, as I believe, many thought everything was easily available to them on the net. However I still believe the book is a better “instant” and “complete” resource. But it proved impossible for me to research, print and distribute such a book with competition from the internet and reduced sales (the books just did not balance) so I went with the flow and now give it for free However I would be the first to admit, that like many other web sites, as I have no income to research and update this resource, it has become somewhat out of date.
Luckily for YOU all 12 editions of The Tranny Guide are all still available. Each one has many pictures, ideas advice, reports never repeated. They are a record of our transgender history and highly valued. 70% of each book is valid today and up to date and you can buy them from my web site at www.wayout-publishing.com
The Tranny Guide aimed to provide newcomers to cross-dressing an overview and regular readers new ideas and inspiration. So that whether you are a participant, or an onlooker, you will have a greater awareness and understanding of the hows, whys and wherefores. “The Guide is for everyone not just trannies”. A diverse and growing range of people find the subject of transgender fascinating. Students of sociology and psychology will find the contents useful. Transgender studies is a frequent subject on the curriculum for a number of courses. The media are continually referring to the Tranny Guide whilst researching articles and programmes. One particular group of readers who are particularly welcomed to the Guide are the wives and partners of cross-dressers. You may be struggling to understand partner’s feelings and desires. Other more experienced partners may be looking for new ways to enjoy the scene.
Every year over 1000 pictures were replaced with new ones from a wide range of contributors and every year the pictures just get better and better. Whether you cross-dress yourself, or want to know more about those that do, this book is packed with tips. “Newcomers to the Tranny Guide have said the advice is invaluable” The book covers every aspect, from buying clothes, to stepping out, including the minefield of sexual options within the TG scene. It has evolved through every edition and has been updated and added to every year. Some excellent sections have been dropped to make space for new. These articles are still VERY useful and can be found in the back issues.
I remember the pain of thinking I was the only person in the world inflicted with the thoughts that I had. When I found there were many more in London I felt better. When I found that there were people in every area in the world – I was amazed and I thought ‘so many people can’t be bad … Can’t be ‘wrong’. As I have received reports year by year they have become more positive more confident more full of joy. It is hoped that knowledge of the sheer magnitude of the global cross-dressing community will help YOU feel more at ease with your (or others’) feelings, even if you are not able to travel and explore yourselves. It has always been my aim, not only to help readers visit areas other than there own, but more importantly, to know that trannies exist in every country and many are having a good time.
Vicky has also been a performer
Vicky Lee’s Profile (first published in The Tranny Guide issue 10)
What is your name and what is your background?
My name is Vicky Lee. I have a background in manufacturing engineering and DJing. My life partner and I have been together since 1972. We have always chosen not to have children we have discussed this together often and have taken counselling with ‘Relate’ on this subject among other things. One of the reasons has been that I am a possible confusion to children. I now have 5 close and 3 estranged nieces and nephews 3 who don’t know me and 5 who love me dearly. I have tried to follow a masculine path but during this time descended into workaholic depression. I was a useless partner during this period of my life. Now is the happiest time of my life and my partners too. It has not been easy to get to this point in my life. I am an inbetweenie, not man, not woman, not straight, not gay, I am just me an entrepreneur, promoter, performer, artist, writer, publisher who loves everything feminine and is very good at DIY . Is that a contradiction? Or is that YOUR predjudice about what a woman is supposed to be like?? xxx
Are you happy to be called a tranny and what does this name mean to you?
I am a tranny – Tranny short for transgendered, which I believe embraces transvestites and transsexuals. I also call myself an inbetweeny I believe that if we take ownership of our labels then no one can hurt us by using them against us.
How old are you and how young can you remember thinking about or actually cross-dressing?
I was 50 in 2004. From my youngest memories I can never remember NOT dressing whenever I got the opportunity. I first found the London tranny scene, (other than a few closeted Halloween parties), on a Friday afternoon at Transformation in Euston followed by a weekend at The Phillbeach Hotel having never talked to a tranny or a gay person ever before.
Where do you buy clothes?
I buy clothes wherever I see them. I like to design and make my own clothes. I have just lost a lot of weight and now enjoy the styles that I want to wear.(When did I write that ?? – put the weight back on now and struggling to find suitable styles again ho – hum).
What leads you to choose the styles you wear?
I am influenced by everything around me magazines, films, music videos, women on the street. The hardest thing is finding the look in the shops. Like many I am heavily influenced by fashion (its so hard to feel fashionable in skirts over the last few years). I loved the late 80′s opaque tights short skirts and comfy boots look but could never go out in that look now.
Do you have one look or many images?
I do have a look. My partner will say of something in a shop or magazine “that’s very Vicky Lee”. I have tried things that really don’t work for me that’s for sure. I have played with pvc and leather in my character costumes but can say for sure that I don’t have a fetish for any style or material.
Is make-up and hair important to you and if so how do you achieve your look?
Madam Jo Jo once told me make sure your face and hair are the best they can be – most people don’t look down if they like what they see. My own hair is long I wear a hair-piece bonded to my scalp, all of the time, to fill the gaps. My make up can take an hour but I have done my full stage make-up in 10 minutes. I have been very lucky to be able to watch the best and learn from them.
To what degree do you practice hair removal, and other body feminisation?
I shave all my hair from my body every few days (except my back and upper arms, which are waxed monthly). I pluck my eyebrows every day. My ears are pierced. I moisturise and face pack whenever I allow myself time. I have my hair coloured and highlighted. My nails are always groomed and my toes are always painted (this is very important to me).
Who knows that you dress?
Everyone I know – knows that I dress fully female. Local neighbours and shop owners accept that I am not male nor female but something inbetween. Many say madam even when I have made no effort – other times sir it does not bother me either way. My best male friend was the first to recognise what I was . He approached me and said “please tell me you are a transvestite because my second option is that you have taken up night fishing”. He has always been most supportive and accepting. His partner has helped as my personal assistant for a number of years and has just had a baby. My partner’s family have always treated me as the 4th sister. I am a tomboy as much as they are. My sister and mother have disowned me.
How often do you dress and if you go out where to?
I am mostly in cargo pants and tee shirts. But then so are all the girls I know. I often wear something more girly when I am out for a meal with friends, meetings or a party. Saturday at The WayOut Club always fulfils girly dreams and is still after years a thrill.
How much of a sexual turn on is trannying for you?When I was young I would get an erection and masturbate after dressing. But at the same age I would masturbate at ANY time. My partner prefers to wear nothing when we are intimate and took a long time and counselling to accept my feminised body. Clothes can make me feel sexy but happiness is my only aphrodisiac.
What is your definition of feminine?
Feminine is the ability to embrace a game of paint ball and then to flirt in a cocktail frock and EVERYTHING inbetween. Masculine is to deny any experience, emotion, choice because it might be considered by somebody else as “girly”.
To what degree do you feel gender dysphoric (i.e. that your brain is feminine)?
I have allowed my brain it’s full range of abilities and choices I don’t think that I am gender dysphoric but others think I am feminine.
To what degree would you consider permanent hair removal, hormones, surgery?
I have endured laser hair removal that proved to me that I am driven to make changes. I have breast envy and would like breast enhancement but only if my partner was happy with this. I have no desire for any other changes. However I know that if I had understood myself and had had the option I would have chosen castration at a young age.
Why did you choose your transgender name?
When I was first asked for my transgender name (to sign into a hotel) I was scared of being identified and felt I could not use my given name (which IS a genderless name). I panicked for a moment and then out popped Vicky Lee. This name has been good for me and I have many strange stories relating to it. (I tell these stories in a whole section on choosing names in my book HEorSHE? by Vicky Lee). However I wish now, that I had used my (genderless) name as it would cause less confusion, especially on the phone. Also family and old friends knew me first by my given name and it very hard for anyone to use a different name once programmed into the neural software.
What individual has inspired you most in relation to your TG inclinations?I set the question but I can’t answer it. I am a product of so many influences I can’t choose an individual. I am a tomboy who also enjoys being feminine. I have been inspired by the images and actions of women as diverse as the fluffy stars of the silver screen that I would watch as a kid on a rainy afternoon to practical women who are not restricted by gender barriers tackling all manner of activity – this I admired so immensely, believing then (and now) that most men do not allow themselves diverse freedom. Ok if pushed Katherine Hepburn, and Lara Croft (I wish) !!
Do you feel you have any choice in your TG thoughts and actions?
Very definitely NOT. All of my life, when I least expect it I find myself seeing a female image or activity that triggers a deep need to share the look or the experience.
Have you tried to stop?
In my teens I grew a moustache to try to stop myself dressing up. In my late twenty’s I submerged myself in long hours of work allowing no time for cross dressing (or anything else including a relationship). On numerous occasions I threw away clothes only to start buying bits over again. My weight has fluctuated between 11stone and 16 stone when I am small my cross-dressing increases and at times I believe I have deliberatly used my weight to try to stop my inclination. Instead it just make me unhealthy, annoyed and frustrated with myself.
Are your sexual preferences altered by your TG experiences?
I think, like many others, when I was first offered admiration, a drink, a compliment, a hand on the bum (and maybe more) !! by someone who was in fact the same gender I questioned my own sexuality. I had never experienced this before and as male rarely received the same attention from females. I don’t think my sexuality was changed – it was awakened. I believe that if I had been purely heterosexual I would have reacted differently to these opportunities and by accepting them and enjoying them I accept my bisexuality – though I have had a monogamous relationship with my female partner for over 30 years.
Have you suffered illness, depression, relationship break ups because of being TG?I have had many days when I have buried myself under the bed sheets in an awful mood often preceding a night when I was expected to present myself next to a partner who would use every feminine trick to build her confidence and make her look great – while I felt lost, not knowing how to present myself and feeling invisible. I would try to overcome these feelings by using my personality to overshadow my inner feelings which resulted in a roller coaster of extreme emotions. While exploring the newly discovered TG world I felt guilt at the hours not spent with my partner who thought I was making up a fantasy world with my stories. After revealing my TG activities to my family my relationship with them spiralled into a disastrous break up. I am accused of being the cause of my father’s death and I have been asked to have nothing more to do with my mother, sister and her children since the year 2000. My relationship with my partner has suffered ups and down which can be attributed mostly to my TG feelings in the background, later in the foreground. My partner struggled with the need to not have secrets with her friends and family. At a later stage she further needed help to explore her own relationship with what she now fully believed to be a part female person with no turning back. Through all of this, two series of counselling with ‘Relate’ has been valuable and has helped us focus on our options and make decisions. Furthermore the support of many friends and family has brought both of us through to a stable and very happy period in our lives.
If you could relive your life without the TG experience would you choose to?I would never ‘choose’ to be estranged from my family, yet I have no other regrets at the life I have had. Being TG has not been easy but it has greatly enriched my life. I often think that if I had my life over again knowing what I know now I would have “come out” much younger. But in that case so many other wonderful things and wonderful people probably would not have been part of my life. Understanding my sexuality at a younger age may have made me vulnerable to HIV and AIDS because it was my age group that was caught out with no knowledge of the disease and were wiped out before drugs were formulated to hold the immune deficiency in check and the message of using condoms at all times was learnt.
How did you get into performing and what have you done?
With a background of shy performance playing guitar and singing and years DJing – in 1992 I started working with Steffan Whitfield. When I first took to the stage to perform female mime impersonations. I found to my surprise that in “drag” I had no fear no “butterflys” After two years with ‘Dragmania’ I went live singing firstly in ‘The Vampettes’ and then with my own show ‘Vicky Lee & Company’ with which in one year alone I did over 180 very successful shows. In 1998 on Sky One’s ‘Little John Live’ show, I was particularly thrilled to be able to sing live backed by a fabulous band. On a program for UK Living I sung backed by music that I made on my computer. Pressure of publishing work has not allowed time for making music or performing on the cabaret circuit for far too long – however I enjoy regularly hosting and joining in shows at The WayOut Club.
What outstanding TG experiences stand out in your mind?
I am blessed with so many – from simply feeling elated after early infrequent Friday to Sunday weekends of freedom to be me – to meeting Princess Diana at a film premier. I constantly find myself in situations where I look around and know that I am amongst extraordinary company that I would never have come into contact with, if I had not opened my mind and stepped out, and then I look at what I am wearing and the feel the confidence they inspire in me and know I am not looking from outside but from within. Standing on stage receiving applause for a performance must be one of my greatest joys, followed closely by the joy of seeing many others achieve the same result through our Star Search at the WayOut Club.
Realise there is no such thing as normal.
You only have one go at life so be true to yourself
Respect for others.
Find a balance that is right for you and those that love you and enjoy.
Oh yea – Buy my book and come and visit me, and my partner Lesley, and all my friends at The WayOut Club, in London, on any Saturday night. I look forward to meeting you
Over 3000 friends keep in touch with Vicky Lee through her Facebook page. Join her and meet her friends. Vicky passes on the many opportunities that she receives.