My name is Tiko Namutebi. I am an international footballer and play for my country Nilemwe and for Chanzo Eagles in the Nilemwian Premier League. All the names in this blog are fictitious because I am a cross dresser and such things are not accepted in football. Before I signed for Melchester I lived in Chanzo where I used to frequent a night club, The Zebra Club, where many Cross Dressers used to hang out. A place where cross-dressers could go and wear gorgeous clothes and beautiful make up and generally express the female side of themselves. The owner of the club used to pay large sums of money to the local police to stave off any chance of being raided. Being a cross-dresser in Nilemwe is a crime and is punishable by three years in prison and often a clandestine beating. One night when I was wearing an exquisite crimson-red halter neck and an electric blonde wig I was photographed dancing with my friend, Oscar.
Before long I was transferred to Melchester City in the English Premier League and was there only a couple of months before I broke into the first team and began to ‘set the Premier League alight’ (if I can quote from the Guardian). I was living the African boys dream. I had assisted with the goal that would send Melchester to Wembley for the FA Cup Final. I was feeling happy and very, very pleased with myself.
On the Monday after the semi-final there was only minor exercises at the Training Ground. I showered and I entered the dressing room, draped in a big sky-blue towel, but no-one took any notice of me,. Half-naked players, combing hair and squeezing spots in front of the many mirrors. They’re always too preoccupied smearing Benzoyl into their acne, kneading on aloe vera for their dry winter complexions and grooming in selenium gel for their dandruff. Players getting changed. Some naked except for earphones. One player had a remote in his hand, pointing it at the Sharp 90-inch TV hanging high in the corner and scrolling the channels. Then someone shouts “hey!” and the scrolling stops.
A pretty African teenager in a red dress and an electric blonde wig. And underneath a script. ‘Wonder Woman?’
That was me! Dancing with Oscar in the Zebra Club.
A montage of stills spin on and off the screen zooming in on shots of me! Shots of my photos in The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Sport, Times, Guardian flashing headlines. Then the talking-head of a Sky Sports newscaster. The sound is turned up.
“…and the photographs were published in today’s in the Melchester Evening News after the paper’s sports desk received a link to the Facebook page of a transvestite friend of Namutebi.”
More stills of me, dancing and seemingly smooching Oscar.
“Currently, neither Tiko Namutebi or Melchester City are available for comment, but we are expected to hear later! Stay tuned!”
Then! Silence. Everyone looking at me! One of the players, and then another, and then another, immediately reaches for a towel to cover their extremities. Another retreats to a more secluded part of the dressing room. One player has turned his head and his continuous spray is missing his hair completely.
The players stare at me – as though I were some kind of pervert. A freak. I wanted the ground to swallow me up!
I write this because now I’m stronger – I’ve matured! And my aim is to make cross-dressing something that is not seen as perverse or freaky – but a normal expression of our natural feelings.
The full fascinating account of the prejudice I received at Melchester City, (who managed successfully, to cover the episodes up and sent me scurrying back to Africa) is beautifully portrayed in RED DRESS REVOLUTION – ghost written by Peter McGarry.
I promise it’s like nothing you ever read.