Gina Lance first came to my attention when I received from her, a copy of the classy Transgender Calendar that she had produced. The pictures and the quality of styling, models,
location and costume were outstanding.
When Gina followed this up with an equally high quality magazine 'Girl Talk', I was most impressed and felt that here was a person taking transgender to a higher level in the USA. Through the magazine's articles I saw Gina, time after time, put her self up front" on television and many other media opportunities, offer a wholesome, open, honest face representing in the best possible light 1000s of transgendered girls who for ever reason were unable to step out of the closet in such a public way.
In her magazines Gina never did "chicks with dicks" in her magazine, but at the same time, through editorial, agony column and articles, she promoted a non judgmental sisterhood, as inclusive of those who embrace cross-dressing as a hobby or lifestyle, as pre or post op transsexuals, and those more visually "out there" girls working in the adult and sex industry.
Instead of using the more obvious blatant sexual images, that will always sell on the top shelf, Gina's magazine oozed glamour and cheesecake taking inspiration from every genre of film and classy magazine. With a strong belief in what she was doing, working from her home base of Hollywood she drew on help from professionals to produce a unique photoshoot for each edition. Each of these was themed with scenery, props, costume, make-up. These professionals who contributed to these works of art whether connected to the TG scene or sucked in by her confident up front attitude gave exquisite work. Gina gave the chance for the 'girls' to keep their (designer) clothes ON for all to admire in the classiest photoshoots I have ever seen.
I found Gina an inspiration. I knew I had to up my game and vowed to meet her, learn from her and congratulate her.
I did meet her in 2000 and spent a very enjoyable night with her at the infamous 'Queen Mary Show lounge' and later at a meal with her magazine's "Staffers". Gina confirmed she was aiming at the middle shelf in 'Wall-Mart' alongside 'Cosmopolitan' magazine. I could see that this was an expensive and risky approach which ultimately after 20 copies proved unsustainable. However on reflection, I put this down not to Gina's misjudgment but to the sudden change in America after 9/11.
Before this date, TG confidence in the USA was growing rapidly and Gina was surfing the wave, but that days" events shrank the hopes for a more accepting future to almost zero. I believe that the powerful men and millions of "Joe the plumbers" in the USA became overly twitchy about any kind of subversion seeing potential terror in any kind of "not normal" individual, which is of course how TG girls can be seen by the great unwashed. Lets face it girls, it is true that we could hide a sizable quantity of 'semtex' in an E cup bra. Lets give "Joe" the benefit of the doubt, maybe that's why he is scared of us.
In George W's scary USA. This was not the time for Gina's "break through" magazine. Like so many others, Gina retreated to the internet where publishing costs are lower and the marketing less controlled.
Now I am proud to offer you the book that Gina Lance has written called 'Get Dressed!'. It is the book of her life story with all its ups and downs. Nothing is held back, childhood, relationships, sexuality and all her practical problems (and joys) described and discussed. Everything from growing up transgendered though her experience of coming out of the closet. She details her adventures with the media on television and her work on 'Girl Talk' magazine. She includes her business highs and lows and how she climbed back out of financial and emotional difficulties to her present state of contentment and reflective success.
The most unusual and therefore, I think, most interesting part of Gina's book, is the detail that she includes on how all the photoshoots were set up for each edition. The locations the faking, beg stealing and borrowing. The back-stories on the models and the make-up artistes.
To finish the book Gina includes her opinion, thoughts and advice on many of the major issues that concern any one who is transgendered.
120 pages with colour picture insert. A piece of transgender history. A view from the USA perspective. A unique and unusual transgender life story from a celebrated transvestite view point. Good clear useful advise. Inspiring. This book is a must read.