This was a genuine dream that I had one night — but I’m quite certain that the idea would be shared by many trans people.

For those of us whose families are, as far as we are aware, ignorant of our transvestism, I'm quite certain that being able to share our secret and have it accepted is a dream; whilst being found out and being rejected as a consequence is a perennial nightmare.

The first instance that I can recall dressing must have been when I was about nine years old, it was my sister's best pink party frock. Since then, like so many tvs, I've "given up" for periods only to have something trivial trigger the need.

I was going through one of my suppression phases when I met my wife. This lasted throughout the three years of our engagement while I studied at evening classes for my professional exams and even the first year of our marriage. I stopped again six years later when our daughter was born - only to start again when I had to visit Newcastle on business and spotted a pair of size 10 high heels in a Lilley & Skinner sale. Across the road from the shopping centre was a dress shop selling larger sizes which had quite an attractive dress in the window.

"If", I thought, "if I was to start dressing again, what would I need and how much would it cost? How much could I afford to charge to Access and Barclaycard? Could I get everything I'd need? I've seen some shoes and a dress. The wig. That's the critical item. I'll bet there isn't anywhere locally I could get a wig - and, if there is, I'll bet the total cost of everything would be more than I can afford to spend." I found a coffee shop and made a quick list: dress, shoes, wig, tights, panties, bra, handbag, make up & cleansers, purse. Then I went round the shops and priced everything. So, £60 or so for everything except the wig. Let's say I can afford £100 - that leaves about £40 for the wig. IF I can find a wig for under £40, I'll do it!" I must have found a wig because I started again.

My job at this time gave me plenty of opportunities for dressing with business trips around the country. Then disaster struck. I lost my job and with it the opportunity to dress. Perhaps it was a punishment! I packed up all of my feminine apparel and dumped it. I can and will beat this disease! I thought.

That was in 1984. Six years later, we had a competition in our village and, as we were expected to dress up for the final's night, the wife of one of the other members of the team I was in suggested that we should dress as women. I put up a nominal resistance to the idea - but finally agreed to do it if the others did.

Most of the clothes could probably be found for us but I knew that none of the wives took my size in shoes and I also knew I would have serious difficulty finding any in our local town. So the next week, I headed for the nearest Saxones. A suitable pair of shoes was located and purchased. At least I would be ready if the scheme went ahead.

As it happens, one of the other members of the team flatly refused to dress up. So the opportunity to let my wife and daughter see me dressed and, maybe, develop the subject, was lost.

Needless to say, the shoes were soon followed by other items and it wasn't long before I was dressing completely again. As both my wife and daughter had been very keen to see me dressed as a woman, it is possible that they would accept my transvestism. But, there is a very big difference between dressing up for a laugh and being a tv.

By 1994, my business was in dire straits with mounting debts and I took on some temping work during the summer to supplement my other work. This assignment lasted rather longer than the anticipated 2-3 weeks and led to me being offered a contract on the next project in North Wales - an hour away from Manchester. I jumped at the opportunity. It would, of course, involve me living away from home and, in order to maximise overtime earnings, would prevent me from getting home very often. My wife was happy that the money was excellent and would help us to start clearing off some of our debts.

I'm currently living in a caravan. My wife still lives in our house in Cambridgeshire and our daughter is at university. This means that I am free to dress when I wish. I can get over to Concord meetings virtually every Wednesday as well as spending most Saturday evenings in the Village.

That, at least, is how it was until the Mayday bank holiday weekend.

As usual, I had planned to take advantage of the volume of work to do some heavy overtime over the weekend and on the Monday. I started at 6.30am on the Saturday morning and finished at about 3. I had spoken to my wife on the phone during the morning and checked that there were no problems at home. Back at the caravan, I sorted out my clothes for the evening and, after a few chores, went for a shower. By just before 6 I was ready to leave. I'd done most of my make-up and had pulled a pair of trousers and a jacket over my dress. My shoes, wig and handbag were in a case in the car ready for the next stage of my transition. Sunglasses hid my made up eyes and I would take my chances that nobody would be close enough to notice that my face was powdered.

A few miles down the road, I pulled into a layby, pulled on my wig, applied lipstick, removed my trousers and change out of the trainers I'd been wearing into a pair of low heeled shoes for driving. I put on my jewellery and applied my false nails. Fifteen minutes later I was back on the road and heading for Manchester.

I had my usual (excellent) meal in the Blue Café and walked round to Paddy's Goose. It was a relatively quiet evening with a number of regulars missing, but still a pleasant evening. I decided against going on to Napoleons and headed back to my caravan - stopping en route to slip my trousers back over my dress, and remove my wig and make up.

Being a holiday weekend, the site was relatively full and it was not until I was actually at my caravan that I noticed an unexpected Mini parked there. It was my wife's. The door to the van opened and she stepped out and came across to me.

"I think you've got some explaining to do" she said, holding up the make-up bag I'd left out earlier.

I followed her into the caravan and closed the door behind me.

"So, where is she? Don't try and deny it, I can even smell her perfume on you!". She demanded. "Had an argument have you - she obviously spends nights here because her nightie is on the bed."

"It's not what you think." I replied. "Mind you, you might prefer your original assumption to have been correct".

"What do you mean?"

"You've found some make-up and stuff and assume that I'm having an affair."

"Well - what other explanation is there? And don't say that you lent the caravan to a friend for a bit of the other, because I won't believe you!"

"I think you'd better sit down". I told her. I took a deep breath.

"I'm not having an affair" I continued, "the items you've found are mine. I'm a transvestite. That's someone who...... "

"I know what a transvestite is." she said in a calmer voice. "I assume you've been out dressed this evening. So where do you go? And what do you get up to? Do you go with men? Are you planning to have an operation? God, what a mess".

"Yes, I've been out dressed this evening. I went over to Manchester, had a meal and met up with some friends. I'm not gay - although the transvestite scene is in the gay village in Manchester and we do mix with gays and straights. And no, I'm not planning to have the op."

"I think I need a drink." she said. "What have you got?"

"Only tea or coffee, I'm afraid".

"Coffee will have to do then".

As I filled the kettle and put it to boil, the questions continued.

"How long have you been a transvestite?"

"Why couldn't you tell me about it?"

"How much have you spent on it?"

"What makes you do it?"

I answered her as far as I could.

"Have you got any photographs of yourself?"

I found the pictures taken at recent Concord events in copies of Cross Talk and passed them to her. I also found some photographs taken in Paddy's Goose.

"This is you? I don't believe it! You actually look very attractive." She then turned to those taken in Paddy's. "You're not going to tell me that all of these are transvestites. And who are these women with their arms around you?"

"Those two are just friends - and I mean just friends." I gave her a coffee.

"Aren't you hot in that jacket" she asked. "Oh God. Don't tell me, you're still dressed underneath, aren't you? Well, come on; let's see you in the flesh."

I went out to the car and collected my wig, handbag and high heels.

I picked up the make-up bag from where Joan had tossed it and did my face.

As she watched me, Joan became astounded. "You really are good at that. It takes me far longer. No wonder you kept moaning at me to hurry up when we go out."

I took out my earrings, slipped them through my lobes and secured them with the butterfly clasps.

"When did you have your ears pierced?" she asked.

Next I shook out my wig and pulled and brushed it into place. Finally, I took off the jacket and trousers and let my dress fall into place before slipping on my high heels.

"I don't know what to say", she remarked. "When I first found the evidence, I was convinced you were having an affair. In fact, I was about to leave when you came back. Then, when you told me that you were a transvestite, I had visions of you looking absolutely dreadful, until I saw the photographs and even then I couldn't believe it. But you look great. I also noticed that you look far more relaxed dressed that I've seen you in a long time." she continued. "I'm not saying that I'm not hurt that you didn't let me know before although I can understand why you didn't."

"So, where do we go from here?" I asked her.

"I'm going to have to come with you and meet some of your friends, they seem to be having a lot more fun than I do down in Cambridgeshire - and I'm not leaving you alone with those two "friends" of yours. I'm obviously not going to be able to stop you dressing so I'd better learn to live with it. It may not be easy and I'm sure there'll be problems, but nothing we can't overcome. Now come here, you can help me live out one of my fantasies while you're dressed like that!"

It was a dream come true!

Then the alarm went off!

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