Our contributor, cartoonist Christine-Jane Wilson, passed away suddenly in her sleep on February 26. We just learned of her passing last week when we were contacted by her widow.
Christine-Jane first crossdressed openly in the early 1980s after shaving off a beard she had worn for 27 years. She, like many crossdressers, started to experiment with her mother’s slips at the age of 10. All of her dressing up was in secret and she went through purges many times, tossing everything out and swearing to herself she would never dress up again.
Early on C-J went into the army and learned skills as a printer and technical journalist. During those years, between purges, she would horde lingerie and wear it under her male clothing. She felt that if anyone was to learn of her hobby they would laugh at her and she feared the ridicule. She said “The one thing I thought I would never ever be able to laugh about was my transvestism.”
C-J had another hobby. She enjoyed appearing in amateur theatrical productions (as it turned out, always in male roles). It was while she was in one such production that she met the woman who would become her wife. Her name was Helene and C-J determined that she should know nothing about C-J’s secret life.
As she began to further explore dressing, attending meetings of the London TV/TS Support Group, the more strongly she felt she had to keep it all a secret from her spouse. But the tension of sneaking around behind her wife’s back lead to problems in their relationship. One day it exploded into the open while the couple was engaged in an argument. C-J, thinking they were done as a couple, confessed to being a crossdresser. Rather than the explosion she expected her statement was met with silence. C-J said “She told me later my revelation made sense of all sorts of little unexplained happenings. She came with me to a group meeting, became involved, and soon we had the partner’s help line in our house. She would talk to wives and girlfriends who rang in with their troubles.”
C-J went on to become one of the leaders of the London support group and and spent countless hours answering the phones and helping people who were troubled by their gender issues. Eventually C-J, at her wife’s request, grew back the beard she had shaved off. She did not stop crossdressing though, and while accused of imitating Conchita Wurst, C-J pointed out that she was crossdressing with a beard in 2002, well before the Austrian singer had created her persona.
It was sometime in the ‘80s or ’90s that Christine-Jane started doing her cartoons about the fears and foibles of crossdressers. Her work appeared in several crossdresser magazines in the U.K. and the U.S. IFGE’s Tapestry magazine often printed cartoons she drew just for them. We began publishing her art in 2013. When asked why she drew cartoons of crossdressers losing their wigs to a tree branch, or being unintentionally “outed” to the neighbors by a child she said:
“All my life, the main savior of my sanity has been my sense of humor. When I grew depressed, if I feared ridicule or rejection, eventually the funny side would hit me and I’d be able to laugh and climb out of the depression. Now, at last, I was able to find humor in being a transvestite. I’ve produced several books of cartoons on the subject. It’s not that I regard crossdressing as an entirely humorous activity, I spent long enough in the closet to appreciate the worry, tension, and terror, but my crossdressing has now become enjoyable, and I’ve learned crossdressing can be very funny once you’ve accepted who and what you really are. While I realize it’s a sensitive and serious subject, I think we can sometimes be a little too serious about it. Surely there’s room for a few laughs.
I hope my cartoons do a little to brighten things up; if we can laugh at ourselves, it can only be good for us. If I give others a laugh about something they thought they would never be able to laugh at, perhaps I will have achieved something after all!”
In 1984 Christine-Jane took the MENSA test, as Christine-Jane Wilson, and became a member of the MENSA Society. She authored two articles about herself and crossdressing in the U.K. MENSA Magazine. She served as the secretary of the TransGender Group of MENSA.
In 2015 she and her spouse appeared in a documentary about married crossdressers titled Forbidden Love: I Married a Crossdresser. She and her wife Helene are one of the couples profiled in the video. You can watch it here on TGForum. Christine-Jane wrote about the experience in 2014 and we featured another video that she and her wife appeared in titled My Husband Christine.
We will miss her gentle humor and we hope that by presenting her cartoons here on TGForum we have helped her on her mission to make “room for a few laughs.”
Use the TGF Search function and take another look at all of her cartoons.