Tina Martini is a fabulous Tgirl based in Sydney, Australia. Here is a lovely interview with Tina.
Q. Hi Tina, Thanks for having this interview. Tell us something about yourself first, your hobbies/interest & where you are from?
Tina: Hi, I’m from Sydney, Australia. I’ve been here many years, although I was born in London. I am a lover of nature and I have traveled widely to some very unusual places, and being in a professional corporate role in my male life, I have been fortunate to have numerous business trips which I could extend on occasions.
In latter years that has also enabled me to visit dressing services and meet and cement some great trans friendships I have made via social media. However, one of my main loves is music, and I played in bands most of my life and as a songwriter released two albums and even won prizes for my songs.
In recent years with the emancipation of Tina, most of my creativity has gone into my transformations, but I did recently write a song, ‘The Trouble with Tina’, the video of which can be found on my YouTube channel, and is a catchy and fun, but honest account of the dilemmas that being a crossdresser present.
On the strength of that video I was offered to perform at ‘TransActShon’, a trans event which took place in Melbourne last year, and I have developed two live acts – a ‘rock chick’ set and a female David Bowie tribute. My ‘career’ in this has stalled a bit due to Covid 19 but it’s allowed me time to develop even further and I will be performing at the next TransActShon event soon, and will definitely be playing more events as live entertainment comes back. Don’t expect a drag act, though, it’s guitar and vocals with a major twist!
Q. When did you first start dressing and how did you get started with crossdressing?
Tina: Well I started when I was 12. I have four sisters and I used to bunk off school and try on their school uniforms and my mother’s girdles and stockings. I used poster paints to paint on my lips and eye areas because my family was very religious and frumpy and didn’t believe In using makeup, so none of them had any. The red paint used to make my lips bubble a bit in some kind of allergic reaction! Eventually I got caught when I was about 14 and I was in huge trouble, with their very conservative views, and actually it was quite a traumatic time in my life.
Nonetheless I carried on occasionally in secret until I was about 17 but guilt got the better of me. I settled down and married when I was 26 and until about 4 years ago I was completely in the closet – buying clothes, hiding them in the loft and only dressing up once every few years. Then I would purge and throw out all the clothes and shoes because of the guilt, and then feel even more guilty because of the money I had wasted.
Q. How often do you dress?
Tina: I was actually in the closet for 45 years! I came out to my wife just over 4 years ago and since then I have basically dressed roughly once a week. My wife and (grown up) kids are fine with it, but don’t ever want to see me as Tina, so three years ago, at my wife’s suggestion, I started to rent an apartment, where I keep Tina’s extensive and ever expanding wardrobe, and where I go regularly to spend time in ‘Tina Heaven’.
Q. What are the things you like doing after getting dressed? anything particular?
Tina: Well, anyone who knows me also knows I love to ‘model’ different looks and I take many, many pics. I wish I could have been a female model. I just love clothes! I also like to go out as Tina and I chose my apartment due to its proximity to one of the best known LBGTQ parts of Sydney.
Q. Do you love going out in public in your femme self? Can you share your first experience of going out in public or being dressed in-front of other people?
Tina: Yes indeed I do. I have no fear of going out in public, and have been lucky enough only to have received positive feedback. My first experience was through a dressing service in Melbourne which I used to visit on my frequent business trips there. Ophelia, the lovely lady who ran the service, encouraged me to step outside. We took a few photos in the street. I was so nervous.
The next time I visited, we went out for dinner (I used a ladies’ rest room for the first time ever), and we went on to DT’s, a famous drag joint in Melbourne. I loved it and I knew this was something I would never turn my back on, determined to be true to myself with the time I have left on this earth.
Q. Any stories or experience you would like to share about yourself and your journey?
Tina: Well it’s hard to come up with something specific as I have had so many. I guess the most amazing was the trip I had to London in April 2019, a fifteen day holiday just being Tina. This was all with the blessing of my wife (I am sooo lucky!) and I met some amazing and firm friends from Europe who I had originally got to know online. I was out every night, and that trip even included a weekend trip to Madrid to visit Dafnigirls, a wonderful dressing service there.
I also squeezed in a trip to Tokyo this year just before the pandemic really got going and paid two visits to Zoom studio there for two fab sessions, one of which consisted of three different Brolita looks. What they do with taping eyes is incredible and they can make you look so youthful!
Q. Have you come out to your friends and family as a crossdresser? If yes, how hard was it for you?
Tina: I am not fully out, and I keep it secret from workmates and all family apart from my wife and son. I work in a very ‘blokey’ business and I fear it wouldn’t go down too well. I think I could personally cope with it, but I don’t think my wife would want to deal with the potential gossip.
I have told a few very close older friends and a couple of people I know I can trust at work. It has been very easy with those people but harder with my wife and kids, particularly my son, who I had concealed it from and who caught me looking at pictures of Tina on my phone and thought I was having an affair! He was actually quite relieved to find out his father was a crossdresser!
Q. Who is/are your female role model(s)?
Tina: Well I always had a thing about Joan Collins. I don’t know about her personality, but I love her powerful looks and outfits. The eighties were ‘ott’ but resulted in some amazingly gorgeous fashions. I also think Violet Chachki looks fantastic – although I guess she Isn’t really a female role model! When I was a very young kid I saw the film ‘Gypsy Rose Lee’ starring Natalie Wood, and I think that was one thing that triggered my love of femininity and a desire to see it in myself.
Q. What are some of your favorite outfits/fashions?
Tina: I do like a smart office look. It probably harks back to the idea of power dressing and Joan Collins too. This extends to fitted shirts and ties and further into androgyny which fascinates me and theoretically fits perfectly with my female Bowie concept.
I also love super feminine looks, which led me to buy a Zimmermann (Aussie designer) dress last year – very expensive and a true indulgence, but so pretty. I guess I can get a little fetishistic too and love the look and feel of latex, but it’s such a faff to squeeze into and get it properly polished – and hot and sweaty to go clubbing in!
Q. Lastly, any tips or advice you would like to give to crossdressers who have just started out?
Tina: Well the biggest thing and the appeal I would make to all is to support each other and support transgender friends and causes. So much progress has been made with trans rights, but we are at a stage in history and politics where much is under threat, and transgender women are still being murdered for nothing more than being themselves.
I don’t think I could transition at my age but as the saying goes ‘what’s the difference between a crossdresser and a transgender person – about five years’ so we owe our sisters our whole hearted support. So much pain has been suffered through history for us to achieve our freedoms and we need to give something back. At a more personal level, I would say treat those who love you with respect and caution.
Don’t simply thrust massive revelations on them. In my case I had to acknowledge to myself that my wife didn’t buy into my Tina side when we married and quite naturally doesn’t want to be married to a woman or have a second woman in our house.
We are lucky to have the means to have found a compromise and a way forward that works. She encourages me in so many ways and I am grateful. Finally I would say, try and be the very best partner you can at all other times. I think Tina has actually made me a better and more appreciative husband.
Thanks so much for the interview.
Tina’s website is www.tinamartini.com and her YouTube video link is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-NqOG25ExX68PfGNtvTWbw