The WayOut Club: Safe Haven for the Third Gender

WayOutClub650LONDON – Transsexuals finally are making their marks in adult entertainment. In the larger society, though, the so-called third gender still struggles for tolerance, and acceptance remains at a distance. Although adult websites featuring T-girls are becoming more numerous, real-world locations where transsexuals and their admirers can meet socially are few and far between.

That’s one reason why London’s The WayOut Club is popular. Founded in 1993, The WayOut Club is hosted by Vicky Lee, who also serves as director of the club’s corporate parent, The WayOut Publishing Company Ltd.

YNOTeurope.com spoke with Lee, a woman on a mission to bring T-girls and transvestites out of the shadows.

YNOT Europe: Tell us a little about the person behind the public persona.

Vicky Lee: I have the typical transgender background of childhood angst, teenage denial, 20s camouflage, 30s double-shifts and near clinical depression, with sporadic cross-dressing throughout.

WayOutClubVickyLeeMy partner Lesley has known — in principle — that I was a transvestite throughout our long relationship. We met when I was 17; I am now 59 and she is 57. It was Lesley who encouraged me to diet and overdose on my cross-dressing to fight my depression. I think she thought this would burn out the desire.

So, in my late 30s, I took my first weekend immersed in my cross-dressing at a dressing service and gay hotel. These weekends became regular monthly outlets, and my makeup skills and image sense rapidly improved, allowing me amazing experiences both in public during the daytime and at nightclubs and restaurants at night.

During these early days, I was overwhelmed by my “success” and the confidence and power that my alter ego possessed. I could not help but think that I should be female, but at the same time my intense logic told me that this would be too hard to maintain, in both a technical and an emotional sense. What is more, I could not see the relationships I valued surviving the transition.

Twenty-odd years later, I have overcome most of the technical problems. In many cases, without making any effort to dress female, I am initially taken as female and referred to as “madam.” I have come to accept that I am not typically male or female. I am an “in-between-y,” and I am very happy to embrace this state and enjoy the full breadth of life’s experience.

What is The Wayout Club?

What it is not is a sex club. We are now the only club in London for transgender [people] run by transgender people that is not a sex club. WayOut is a sanctuary where trans girls and guys who like trans girls can meet and get to know each other without the pressure to have sex there on the spot.

We have guests from all over the world and celebrate diversity in ways that I am assured are unique. We always put on a show at 1 o’clock in the morning, and we dance until 4 a.m. We encourage trans girls to perform and have been instrumental in starting their performing careers.

There have been a good handful of club nights offering what WayOut offers, but currently the only other options are those that openly advertise facilities to have sex in the venue.

How did The WayOut Club come to be?

In 1993, I was performing two or three nights per week with Steffan in a team called Dragmania. At the same time, Steffan and I also were promoting a successful gay night every Sunday at London’s famous Hippodrome in Leicester Square.

WayOutClub3A local bar owner visiting the tanning salon after our night at The Hipodrome offered us her bar every Saturday. I suggested that what London needed was a night for trannies, and Steffan agreed.

We opened with 100 guests and have never missed a Saturday since, and we’ve never had fewer than 100 guests. Some, like myself, have rarely missed a night at The WayOut Club.

In the first few years the club moved to seven different venues, but in 1998 we moved to Charlie’s near Tower Bridge in London’s financial district. We were there for 14 years until it closed in 2011, after which four other venues in the same vicinity have provided a space to host the club.

What kind of people come to the club, and how do they interact?

We have all ages from 19 to 90, all races, all backgrounds, all faiths, all sexualities and every gender. We have good support from family and friends, both male and female.

We have fit, young male admirers who mix with each other as well as the girls, and we have trans girls from first-out cross-dressers who we help with their makeup through T-girls whose social life revolves round their transgender lifestyle.

We have gay trannies. We have shemales, pre-op and post-op transsexuals. We have T-girls who work in highly qualified professions, and we have T-girls who are porn stars and escorts. We all mix together, and we have a ball together every week.

What sort of events do you stage?

For more than 20 years we have held a tongue-in-cheek beauty pageant, but currently our venue does not facilitate this type of event. Over the 14 years at Charlie’s we staged 30-minute tributes to almost every stage musical and pantomimes. We also paid tribute to outstanding MTV videos. In our current venue, we present intimate lounge shows.

How has the club’s community evolved over the years?

After 20 years we have a significant number of regulars who first visited as confused guys and have now transitioned. We have a few who have met their male or female life partners and even have a few that have now married.

Over the past five years, the guys who like trans girls have found each other. They are now a much more significant part of the community and are accepted by the girls as trusted friends.

There is a steady flow of transvestites who accept that this is a major part of their lifestyle, and of course those who dress only when the opportunity arises. There are amongst them those who have supportive female partners and friends who also become part of the community.

WayOutClub4What kind of support does the club offer for newbies?

We have two makeup artists to help with makeup and hair for those who want help when they get changed at the club.

I always scan the crowd for newbies and make a point of talking to them. Some need very little support, and others need more of my time. I also introduce newbies to others who can be supportive.

What are your future plans and goals for the club?

In recent times, it has become much harder to run a club night. Limited parking space and harder parking restrictions at all hours make it more necessary to use taxis.

Recent economic conditions have made it harder to afford the costs of a visit to any nightclub. Heavy-handed licensing restrictions have reduced the number of venues able to offer us a home with the facilities we need.

So, my target for the coming years is just to maintain what we have created over the past 20 years.

 

About the Author

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Peter Berton

Peter Berton is an award-winning adult industry journalist whose work is featured on YNOT.com and has been published by other adult-industry publications.

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2 Comments

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    Great article very positive keep up the good work am looking forward to future postings. Rhonda

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