Grand Rapids Crossdresser Social Group The Grand Illusions
Grand Rapids Crossdresser Social GroupThe Grand Illusions

Our History and Direction
I am Billie Anne Jean, I founded The Grand Illusions in March 2012.  As a result of searching for someone to go OUT in public with, way back when  I found lots of fetish groups.  Lots of predators.  Lots of irresponsible behavior. 

 

I discovered that there were enough other non fetish crossdressers and adult transpersons that a social and support group was needed.  Researched every reachable crossdresser group in the USA and contacted their facilitators, or anyone available.  I quizzed them about what worked and what didn't work.  I set up The Grand Illusions for the people in the most need, the life long NON fetish crossdressers and the adult transpersons.  The life long crossdressers are generally those who have been CDing for the greater part of their lives, usually carrying a burden, usually alone, even feeling rejection, feeling guilty, needing understanding and fnding a way to become comfortable or even better, happy.  The adult transpersons like the life long CDers has felt all those with the added weight of having a body that does not match their brain from birth.

In talking to the people across the USA I discovered that there are three CDing characteristics.

  1. By far the largest percentage, about 85% of CDers.  Persons who crossdress and have not yet, don't want to, may one day, may never ever, do but shouldn't go OUT (beard is an example) enfemme in public.  These can also be transpersons.  Persons in this percentage are doing it because they have to.
  2. The smaller portion of CDers, perhaps 10%.  Persons who crossdress, do go OUT enfemme and are completely comfortable with it as are the general public that they blend in to.  These can also be transpersons.  Persons in this percentage are doing it because they have to.
  3. The smallest percentage perhaps 3%.  Persons who may go OUT in public or not who intentionally dress to cause shock or attract attention.  These are typically fetishists.  They are doing what gives them a thrill, it is voluntary.  Their appearance can range from mild to outright shocking.  They are a less than ideal fit for A.  Experience has shown that they are usually a poor fit for B.   And they can be an insult to life long CDers and  transpersons in A and B.

 

I used the information gained from five months of research to create an email message that over a two week span and eighty hours of work, I sent to five hundred CDers throughout Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.  This was the first invitation to come to the meetings.  Since then I spend at least a couple of hours a week messaging and answering inquiries.

 

We do not have a magic scanner to tell which of the three, A, B, or C any prospective member is.  They can tell us which they most identity with.  We don't ask.  People in the first two usually volunteer that information.  Almost always people in the third category only show themselves through their actions.

And that is why we have two meetings a month.

  1. An IN Meeting at which anyone that is a crossdresser or transperson may attend

        Wearing anything they wish as long as it is feminine in appearance and in good taste.  Ball            gown, swimsuit, party dress, slacks, skirtsuit, dress, skirt and top, all OK.  With feminine                hair or a wig, a bit of makeup, feminine shoes.  Puts us all on the same page.  But no junk            showing, keep it tasteful.  This is a closed meeting to CDers only, A, B, and C.  These                    qualifications are nearly always directed towards the C.

  1. An OUTing.  Open to anyone who is able to blend in.

        Like able to walk from one end of the mall to the other and back without drawing attention            to themselves.  And thereby drawing attention to those with them.  That blending in is a                safety measure too.  It is NOT a beauty contest.  Yes sadly there are some who can not fit            in to this category no matter how much they try.  And sadly we can not create a situation                that satisfies everyone all the time.  But it is unfair to create an uncomfortable situation for            the majority of the CDers on that OUTing. These qualifications are nearly always directed              towards the C.

 

The Grand Illusions is a non fetish crossdresser and adult trans group founded and focused on some cast in stone guidelines.  It can evolve over time but the foundation guides CAN NOT change.  Not without becoming something other than The Grand Illusions.  If enough members of The Grand Illusions seek a different kind of group, then their only recourse is to form another group with another name and another set of guidelines, or no guidelines.
 

The Grand Illusions was founded and continues with these guidelines:

 

  1. Provide support for those struggling with their gender disconnect.
  2. Provide acceptance for those needing to express themselves .
  3. Project classy when OUT.
  4. Have fun but do not be offensive when IN.
  5. We don't do anything that we have to hide from our SOs.
  6. Be good ambassatrix for the LGBTQ community at all times when with The Group and not.
  7. Be visible to the general public as an example that non conforming is OK.
  8. Take that classy image to places which might not typically be experiencing that diversity.
  9. Change the general public's perception of gender non conforming to positive or at least neutral.
  10. Be responsible in our lives, with our families, finances, and jobs.
  11. Help those desiring to enhance their presentation.
  12. Help the families to accept the gender non conformity.
  13. Allow the members to make suggestions for activities and venues that fall within these guidelines.
  14. Safety in numbers when OUT.
  15. Have fun.

These are the foundation of The Grand Illusions.  The Group will evolve and people will come and go, but these basic foundation guidelines can not change.  It would be like telling a group that has regular classy gatherings that you as a member want to change the meeting format to anything goes.  That is a foundation change that alters the group dynamics enough to require a reboot.  That warrants starting a different new group if enough want it.

The LGBTQ community has an understandable lack of acceptance of the fetishists.  We started out with no respect from the LGBTQ community.  In the nearly five years we have been meeting, we have seen the fruits gained from proving ourselves to that community of which we are now members.  We have even gained a beginning level of acknowledgement from the mental health profession.  And acceptance from the venues, retail, restaurants, and the general public.  This can so easily be lost by ceasing to be perceived as classy.

There are LOTS of fetish groups in the Grand Rapids area and Michigan.  There is just ONE classy CDer/trans group. 

 

What is the difference between an IN meeting and an OUTing?

The IN meetings are mostly a gab session. Discussion tends to place greater importance on putting together an outfit from resale than who spent the most. There is no pecking order based on appearance or wardrobe. All are equal and all are welcome. More experienced girls freely share tips for anyone requesting. Occasionally someone will be experiencing family or life pressures and in need of compassion, a good listener, or just a hug. We are there to support each other. We usually order takeout. Almost always pizza. Now and then we do a makeover and mini photoshoot for any member desiring it. It is about acceptance, friendship, support, privacy, freedom, and self expression. It is NOT a beauty contest. This event is for CDers who have never been OUT enfemme, those who will not go OUT enfemme, newbies, those who are more experienced, and those who do go OUT enfemme. The IN meeting is a relaxed setting where you can be yourself and not worry about how good you look or if anyone is going to notice. The only requirement for CDers is that they must present as female. That means they must wear women's clothing, feminine shoes, feminine hair. Forms and some kind of makeup like lipstick also are nice but not absolutely necessary. You need to put at least a little effort in to it so we are all on the same page - more or less. This is for CDers only, no SOs please. You can not experience this at your computer. Join us!
An OUTing is ...... well an outing. We go OUT to places the general population goes to. Like a typical restaurant for dinner. Then maybe to a big box clothing store, or to a thrift shop, or a walk through a mall. Then to a club to dance till our feet hurt. All enfemme amongst the general population. For this you must be able to blend in. See the next FAQ.

Do I have to be pretty, as pretty as XYZ girl, or beautiful to go on an OUTing?

No you do not have to be a supermodel to go on an OUTing. If you look at the population of typical women, they range from beautiful to definitely not blessed. The same applies to CDers. Actually having a diverse group of CDers OUT together helps us to project the image of a group of regular gals. You should be able to blend in but this is not a beauty contest. Take a look at the picture on the top of the page. Six of us are interacting with a bunch of people, blending in. To blend you should have no obvious exposed body hair and no facial hair. If you can't shave your arms and legs then wear long sleeves and tights as necessary. If you have facial hair, well then that is what the IN meetings are for. You should have long hair, a feminine short do, or a wig, makeup as appropriate, appropriate women’s clothing, forms, padded panties, appropriate shoes, bling, a purse. You should make some effort to walk in a feminine manner, posture should be feminine, and so should your gait, not walk like a sumo wrestler. You should have a feminine voice or use a whisper. All of these can be honed to a fantastic level of realism, or a newbie’s level. But you can not just throw on a dress and show up, without standing out like a guy in a dress. And being able to blend in is a safety measure too. By leaving them in doubt, as opposed to being obviously a man in a dress, they lose interest before they can decide if there is something amiss. Think of it this way, if you can walk through a mall and most of the people ignore you, then you blend in. If you walk through the mall and get noticed by many of the people, then you don't blend in. We suggest that if you are in doubt, attend an IN meeting first for guidance and help.

We have been having a LOT of fun on our OUTings, and at our IN meetings. You can not experience this at your computer. Join us!

Can I bring my SO?

Your SO is welcome to attend any OUTing.
BUT
The IN meetings are for CDers only. You must be enfemme during the IN meetings. We frequently have people come to the IN meetings who have never been enfemme anywhere but their closet. This becomes their first time ever dressed and in the company of others. The IN meetings are completely private, the public is not allowed and can not see us. But still for some this is a big step. For this reason we prefer to keep the IN meetings as stress free for the newbies as possible. Therefore, no SOs, and everyone must be enfemme.

Can I change from guy mode at the meetings?

Yes you can. We have three large clean bathrooms where you can change from guy to girl before the meeting and back after the meeting. Or you can come enfemme. This is for the IN and the OUT meetings. Also we like to change outfits during the OUTings, one outfit for dinner, another for clubbing. We return to the meeting place to do this. It is part of the fun!

Want to hook up? Want anything more than just crossdressed fun?

The Grand Rapids Crossdresser Social Group "The Grand Illusions" is a fun group for male crossdressers. It provides an avenue for us to express ourselves in a safe environment. What we do is still not universally socially acceptable, men wearing women's clothes. But that is what we are doing. That is ALL we are doing. There is nothing going on that we have anything to be ashamed of. There is nothing going on that our SOs would disapprove of. This is just about the enjoyment of dressing in woman's clothing, experiencing the world dressed as a woman, experiencing the world being seen as a woman. An escape from the demands and expectations society places on us as men. This is NOT about sex or any sexual act. We always behave like ladies and would discourage any inappropriate act.

Are there any dues? Do I have to register? Do I have to give my name? Address?

Some of us are quite comfortable with our "hobby" but some of us fear discovery. We do not require any dues, there is no registration, we do not ask or encourage any guy information. We prefer that you have an email address in your chosen girl name and that you use that girl name for all interaction. If you choose to reveal any guy information, please understand that others are in no way obligated to reveal any of their own.

What do we talk about?

Like all men we talk about jobs (non specific), sports, politics (non confrontational), weather, cars, hunting, cussing, scratching, tools, boats, airplanes, racing, fixing things, breaking things, the usual.

Like women we talk about shopping, clothes, shoes, makeup, hair, nails, nail color, jewelry, purses, hats, stockings, undergarments, putting outfits together, relationships (on specific), family, cooking, food, jobs.

Like all crossdressers we talk about our technique: Makeup, voice, walk, "blending". Problems with relationships because we are crossdressers. How much fun it is. It IS fun!

Do I have to come to every meeting? Is this another commitment?

This is not a commitment. Most members come when they can. Some come every meeting, twice a month. Some of us get together even more frequently than that - weekly. Some members come mostly in the winter. Some come for the special weekends only. This is about fun. It is about an escape from the demands that are placed on us as men. The meetings are totally informal and more a gab fest (IN) and group excursion (OUT). SUCH FUN!

Contact us at crossdressers-wmi@hotmail.com
Billie's BLOG is at http://billieannejeansblog.apps-1and1.com/

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