Hello! Before I introduce myself to you all let me take a moment to thank Rachel for inviting me to take part in her cover girl series. This is a huge honour for me, and one which I'm not sure I entirely deserve!
My name is Emma Ballantyne, I am in my early 40s and I hail from Scotland. I guess have always known I am transgendered since I can recall having the urge to wear girl's clothes from around the age of five. It all began when I had to wear pantyhose for my part in a school play around that time.
I have no siblings, so unlike many t-girls I had no sister's clothes to try on in my childhood. But being an only child did mean I could access my mother's wardrobe when alone in the house. Her clothes didn't fit or suit me, but just having an opportunity to dress gave me a tremendous feeling of contentment that I couldn't experience as a boy. My parents knew of my behaviour, but to this day have never discussed it with me.
Despite these feelings, I felt consumed by guilt and constantly fought the urge to dress. There was no internet back then of course, and very little literature available on tg subjects. The media and entertainment industries portrayed crossdressing as a habit of psychopaths, deviants and the subject of ridicule. The few girlfriends I shared my secret with tended not to be able to cope with this side of me, and I just felt like I didn't fit in. (I still don't, if I'm honest)
In 2000 following the break-up of a long term relationship I decided the best way to console myself was to invest in female clothes - lots of them! - shoes, wigs, make-up... the works. And I never looked back! Soon I was heading out for nighttime drives and nervous walks on deserted streets, but it wasn't until 2008 that I took the plunge and ventured out in daylight.
When I am outside as Emma I like to go unnoticed but still want to be seen, if that makes sense. But for some reason, and I still to this day don't know why, I decided to upload a short video clip I filmed of myself at an atm onto youtube. The feedback and positive comments I received amazed me. As a result I grew in confidence and would go out more regularly and interact with people, and I can honestly say that uploading that video completely changed my life - for the better. I have now met wonderful friends who I can share a previously unspoken side of my life with and finally feel happy to be they way I am.
Having said that, I only present myself as a girl maybe 5 or 10% of the time. As a male I have little pride in my appearance but when I transform myself into Emma I pay attention to even the smallest detail. Now I really do know why it takes genetic girls so long to get ready to go out!
Thanks for this opportunity Rachel
Click on Emma’s portrait below to go to her Flickr page. Click here to go to Emma’s YouTube page.