Tag Archives: united kingdom

Una Reviews Two London Hotspots: The Way Out Club at Gilt, and the Candy Bar

This last week my wife Fiona and I were vacationing in England, and we reserved time at the end of our trip to visit two hotspots we’d seen mentioned online.

The first one was The Way Out Club, said to be England’s largest transgender and crossdressing club in the country (some say Europe). The Club does not have a fixed location, and meets at two other nightclubs – the night we attended, it was at the Gilt Bar; other nights it meets at the Yager Bar. The Club as such only meets on Saturday nights, so you can call it a moving transgender party rather than an actual nightclub.

We arrived early due to schedule issues, and found a clean and well-laid out place with a very friendly staff who seemed like they were happy to have us there. Drinks were reasonably priced (for London) and the dance floor reasonable (again, for London…in England, everything, including club venues, are typically much smaller than the United States). The music was techno-dance, which was reasonably danceable.

I wish I could report that I had a lot of interactions with the transgirls there, but the club generally does not pick up until past midnight. I did speak briefly to one of the staff there, who told me that most of the patrons tend to be crossdressers, and as such they often don’t come out until it is very late. I also spoke with one crossdresser, G., who was preparing herself for the night, and she told me that the place “very comfortable…you can dance, hang out, or show any interest and get a date to take you home.”

What she was referring to was the chasers, who unfortunately still outnumbered the actual t-girls by nearly 2:1 by the time we left. The situation may be different if you stay later, but remember, in London you can’t really stay much past midnight without needing an extremely expensive taxi or dodgy bus ride, as the tube stations mostly shut before 12:30.


The second place we called at was The Candy Bar, which bills itself as a lesbian club which is welcoming to transgender persons (and men). The Candy Bar is a permanent club, and it is run very differently from the Way Out Club. Candy is noisy, very crowded despite having three floors, and hosts a much younger crowd than the Way Out Club. Upstairs are a few chairs and couches to sit on, which were always filled with girls chatting or making out. Ground floor is the bar, which is a bit pricey even for London, and downstairs is the dance floor and toilets – but to get downstairs, you have to turn over your handbag and coat to a check facility, which charges you a pound an item to take them. This was said to be due to “fire regulations” but it was apparently applied at random, as club regulars could take their bags downstairs.

The staff seemed indifferent overall, and even though we were supposed to get half-price admittance, due to a “technicality” we had to pay full price. The music the night we were there was London hip-hop, which we only danced a little to. There were also an annoying number of men there, some who seemed to be doing little more than ogling the girls making out and dancing together. I’ve read on their website that Candy Bar will be moving next year due to a rent increase, so it may also change its style as well.

Between the two, if you are in London, I recommend trying Way Out – just plan to stay late and arrange transport. I’d happily return there.

Paris Lees: From Prison to Transgender Role Model

In the United Kingdom (where I was recently vacationing; I’m on my way back right now) Paris Lees is a big name, raising transgender awareness on many fronts. From the article:

  • Paris presented a collection of films about transgender people for Channel 4, becoming the channel’s first transgender presenter
  • She presented The Hate Debate, a show about prejudices for Radio 1, becoming that station’s first transgender presenter
  • Paris was the first transgender woman to appear on the cover of DIVA, a magazine for lesbian and bisexual women
  • She became the first transgender judge for the Independent on Sunday’s annual Pink List in 2011 and returned to the judging panel the following year
  • She has previously worked with the Gender Trust and Trans Media Watch, and currently works with All About Trans
  • She challenged Jonathan Ross over a transgender joke he made – and charmed him into giving a video interview

BBC News – Paris Lees: From prison to transgender role model.

Ex-Soldier Lucy Vallender, UK’s “First Transgender Muslim Woman”

I’m highlighting this story because it’s unusual. Lucy Vallender was a solider in the Territorial Army of the United Kingdom, and decided to both transition and become a Muslim at the same time. However, as I’ve posted before, being a transgender Muslim isn’t nearly as fun as one might think…

“They asked me questions about my bra cup size, asked about my Adam’s apple, about my period and asked to see my birth certificate,” she said, and so returned home to pray there instead. “I hope people will change their attitudes and other people like me will realize they are free to just be themselves.”

Hoping a major organized fundamentalist religious group of any denomination will suddenly slap their hands to their respective heads and say “of course! We should love transgender people now!” is a bit overly hopeful.

What bothers me about the article is this part of it:

She’s found love as well as self-acceptance since her drastic life changes, and is now married to a Muslim man, Murad, whom she met on an online dating site. Though he did not know that she was trans at the time of their wedding, she commented, “he must have suspected it as he’s seen my scars.” She’s only seen him twice since the wedding, but spoke warmly about him, commenting, “I love him, he’s kind and soft spoken.”

What, what, what? You married a Muslim man and didn’t tell him you were a transsexual woman until after the ceremony? Whoa.

Lucy Vallender, UK’s First Transgender Muslim Woman, Gets Married After Leaving Territorial Army (PHOTOS).

Transgender Catwalk Model Nicole Gibson Wows Audiences

OK, now a bit of skin…and what skin, too. Nicole, you are really working your transition, holy crap! The before and after photos are stunning, although there is a significant age difference between the two.

Transgender catwalk model Nicole Gibson wows audiences just days before sex swap surgery – Mirror Online.

England – Town Councillor Used Their Personal Trans Experience to Write a Crime Novel

PaintedLadiesPretty cool – Penny Ellis, writing under her boy name of Peter Ellis, has written a novel about a transwoman detective. I confess to being amused that copies of the book are being sold at the Leominster Tourist Information Centre. Having visited innumerable English towns and their respective tourist centres, I can just imagine “Here’s a book about our Roman ruins, here’s a book about the county wax festival, here’s a book about a transgender private detective…no dears, it’s fiction, we don’t get many serial killers in this county…well, there was Fergus last year…”

When I read the book (it’s on my wish list) I’ll post a review. From the article:

Peter Ellis’s first crime thriller Painted Ladies follows Jasmine Frame – a pre-op transsexual on the trail for a knife-killer.

Her own sense of identity is tested in the search to find the murderer, and Peter’s attempt to tackle transgenderism in the novel stems from his own experiences. … “I thought it might be useful to make the central character someone who is transsexual and use the novel to present the transition to a place where she wants to be,” Peter said.

It took 10 years for Painted Ladies to come together but this isn’t the last of Jasmine Frame and Peter is already half way through the next book with plans for another three or more.

Leominster Councillor used personal experience to pen first crime novel about transgender private detective (From Ledbury Reporter).

Transgender Boy to Fight Doctor’s Decision to Ban Him Having Puberty Blockers

Good for him! Although the title of the article sounds like he’s a victim of medical discrimination, the GP for her part says she simply doesn’t know enough about the long-term effects to risk giving the boy puberty blockers. However, given the weight of medical evidence easily discoverable, as well as existing NHS guidelines on the subject, her reticence seems odd and misplaced.

There is a video at the link.

Leo Waddell: transgender boy, 12, vows to fight doctor’s decision to ban him having hormone jabs | Mail Online.

The Transgender Inspiration Behind the Award-Winning Play, “Kinky Boots”

This is a cool true story of how a struggling shoe factory got new life by catering to transgender customers. The stage version just won an award for “Best Musical.” Some of the story:

In his 30s Pateman had taken over from his father as boss of WJ Brookes – a traditional shoe factory in the village of Earls Barton in Northamptonshire which had existed for more than a century.

Struggling with changes in fashion and competition from abroad Steve had started to look for new markets. He was persuaded by an unexpected phone-call to think about expansion into “kinky boots” – women’s shoes in men’s sizes for transgender people.

“…I explained we were having real difficulty getting hold of well-made women’s shoes which would fit men. I persuaded him the market wasn’t as niche as he thought and suddenly he was keen.

“In fact at one point Steve got carried away. He was talking about leopard-skin boots and other exotic lines. But what my customers want is classic black patent boots and shoes which will take a man’s weight.”

BBC News – Kinky Boots inspiration comes out of the shadows.

UK Court of Appeal Confirms: Stealth Trans People Having Sex are Criminals

Good grief! I saw this running around the web earlier, and found this good site which analyzes the ruling. It appears to be true, and it’s not that much of a surprise, given the UK. Their laws on “deception” prior to sex are fairly draconian, however it’s still unclear to me, and many, to what extent not disclosing your entire gender history is “deception.” Clearly whoever you are having sex with can see what you have and walk away if they want to…correct?
Court of Appeal confirms: Stealth trans people having sex are criminals « Complicity.

Take a Look at the Beautiful Dani St. James – Transwoman

According to the article, “…she is now a London nightclub manager and still keeps a photo of herself as Daniel.

She said: “I prefer to be seen as a woman but most people never guess.””

Beauty queen constestant was born a man | The Sun |News.