As many of you know, I’ve always enjoyed online chatrooms. It’s a way to keep a finger on the pulse of the trans community, can be relaxing, and unlocks opportunities to meet people from all over the planet.
It’s much more ‘immediate’ than email conversations yet not as invasive as one-on-one instant messaging. And for a wallflower like me, it’s often fun to ‘listen in’ on the conversations of others without feeling the need to become engaged.
So I thought I might provide you with a review on a few of the chatrooms out there. These are my feelings only, as of the fall of 2015, but are based on hours and hours of experience.
Gender Exchange Room on Alt dot com
This is really where is all started for me. It’s where I found my ‘home’; the first place online where I felt truly comfortable. And back in the mid/late 2000’s it was a rockin’ room. I made several friends there that I’ve got together with in person and who I’ve stayed in touch with. Oh sure, there was drama .. many lost site of the fact that Alt dot com is a site for alternative lifestyles and would seem insulted or behave in a condescending way when kink was brought into discussions. But it was a hoot. Me, and several others, would live webcam while chatting. I met a fabulous couple from the desert southwest here and became friends for life! I also met the infamous “Man in Black” (from my video) there; we’ve dated, he’s visited me at Casa Seleena and we still stay in touch.
Sadly, the Gender Exchange room is but a shadow of it’s former self now. The interface is still crappy but the cohesive group is gone.
This was the first chatroom I ever experienced. Although it was fun to watch all the outgoing girls chat like they owned the world, I never really found a way into their clique. I deleted my profile and never returned for, like, a decade. And when I did, it felt much better.
But within a year of my return, the site was in peril and the founder announced it would be shut down. It was rescued in the 11th hour by someone who professed to have business experience but it’s been all downhill ever since.
It’s a shame because the Urnotalone name was known far and wide from retailers to surgeons and from newbies to the experienced to the working girls. But recently, discussion of URNA at trans events is met with scowls and frowns.
The chat interface on this site is one of the better ones but the user turnaround seems high and the ability to retain a core group of quality people seems elusive. Traffic moves between extremely slow and “I can barely keep up” busy. In my opinion, this one should have been allowed to die a dignified death instead of the slow, painful one it’s experiencing now.
A UK-based site where, unlike the others, it’s okay to be a non-full time, non-surgery seeking trans person. Overall, the girls here care more about their presentation, appearance wise, than many on the US-based sites where there’s a mindset that you can’t appear pretty and be a real trans woman. There’s only a handful on this site who are not from the UK and it seems we foreigners are all looking for an alternative to the aggressive, often mean-spirited demeanor common on “this side of the pond”.
My only complaint with ‘Chix” is the interface. Tiny text on my high rez screen and not easily resizable, eye strain is a problem for me. Oh, and time zones. I love chatting for a couple hours before bed at night and only the extreme night owls are still awake in the UK.
This is my current favourite. Although almost everyone seems to prefer conversing in private over publicly chatting in the chat room, and although the small screen text hurts my eyes, the kinder, gentler, sexier and the less judgmental UK crowd makes this one very cool. Side note: I need to attend a trans event in the UK in the near future. Maybe Sparkle.
My time on this one was very short-lived. The site that professes “We Are One” just felt so divisive, so wrong on many levels and the chatroom was Deadsville. The site is owned and managed by someone who, in their own reality, feels they’re a compassionate (“I’ve been there”) ally but who’s behavior and demeanor comes across as arrogant and controlling.
I had to laugh. At one point, she made a rule that no selfies would be allowed on her site. She found them to be low quality and low effort. But in all honesty, selfies are about the best many girls can come up with. Tight budgets and the need for discretion just makes it impossible for some to get elaborate or to hire a photographer.
The chat interface is nice, traffic is extremely low and, if you’re not into discussing surgery or hormones with a bunch of it’s-my-way-or-it’s-the-wrong-way geniuses, your time might be better spent elsewhere.
Wonderful people! Well, with an exception or two. Actually, someone there took an immediate dislike for me and it kept me from really becoming one of ‘the Sisters” but that’s okay. The sweetest personalities in the chat world might very well hang out in the ES chatroom .. lol.
I’ve had the opportunity to spend some in-person time with 4 or 5 girls, and a couple guys, who I met here and they’re as nice in person as they are online.
The chat interface is the standard Ning software and it works well. All in all, a low traffic chatroom that’s a great place to meet sweet girls and guys who are both fun and supportive.
The Gender Society
This is Katie, from Frock magazine’s, website. Like the magazine, it’s slick, informative and geared towards a wide segment of the community. Good info, nice people, a great look but the chatroom is very underused. To the point where it’s almost not worth including here. With just a small handful of dedicated regular chatroom users who are mature, non-judgmental and reflect Katie’s classy philosophy, this one could be big, in my opinion.
But I continue to check in occasionally in hopes it comes to life but, so far, there has been no change.
Update March 1 2016: well I spoke too soon about that “classy philosophy”. I’ll tell you why I’m saying this.
I recently got an email from the website saying that someone had commented on one of my photos. The email contained a link to the comment. But when I clicked on the link, I was informed that only paid subscribers have access to that area. How can this be? It’s ~MY~ photo and I can’t see the comment? So I went over to their tech forums and asked the question. The forum moderator was very responsive and quickly explained that yes, only paid subscribers can see this. I understood what she was telling me but she proceeded, not once but twice, to try to make me feel like a cheapo for not paying the subscription fee. (I just can’t subscribe to every site and this one is definitely a low benefit proposition).
So I’ve deleted my account on Gender Society and have withdrawn my support for Frock magazine as well. The link to the current issue of Frock has been removed from my main menu. Sad, Katie. Very sad.
I’m not sure what exactly to call this one. I get to the chat site from TgTalk but I believe there are other front end sites too that all lead to the same place. So you may be familiar with this site by a different name. TGGuide is another way to get here, and there are others.
This one is actually a pretty good chat room. Lots of diversity and maybe a little less drama than average. The site rules, and the moderator’s who enforce them, are a little bit much for me but they’re trying to make the experience good for the majority so I won’t complain.
Average interface, average traffic flow and moderators who lurk invisibly while making sure that not only the person who committed the infraction is aware of their wrongdoing, but every user in every room sees a quoted rule flash across their screen.
All in all, a pretty cool site but, like tvchix, much of the chat goes on in private windows.
Pantyhose Share Club
Added 12/30/15: I recently found this one. It’s technically not a trans site but since almost everyone there is into wearing pantyhose, it kinda fits the bill.
I struggle with this site. On one hand, the people are fabulous. Really nice, very non-judgmental and egos aren’t out of control. But the prevailing mindset is somewhat disturbing for me because the site is loaded with images that appear to be ‘borrowed’ from the web. I asked the site owner about this and she`s very unapologetic. She’s of the opinion that all images on the internet are fair game.
Although I go there often right now, I`m guessing I won`t pay or stay forever because of this. I just can`t accept that “because it was posted on the internet, I`m entitled to use it” mentality. But the site is so sweet because it’s the only place I’ve found where guys can talk freely about their need to admire and wear pantyhose. And the trans girls and genetic women who frequent the site are very supportive.
If nylon is your passion, maybe consider checking this one out. And if I’m in the chatroom, please stop by to say hi.
I should also mention the chatroom at Adult Friend Finder and the forums at Crossdresser Heaven.
I know of no tgirl who feels accepted in the general meat market world of Adult Friend Finder. A few have “stealthed” their way into a few months of chat room fun but, for the most part, when their cover is blown things get ugly, and rightly so. Deception is always a bad thing.
And Crossdresser Heaven is the first and only site that makes my skin crawl. No, it’s not a chatroom but I still feel the need to mention it. It appears to be the brainchild of all that is wrong within the transgender hierarchy. They’re obsessed with the word “crossdress” and feature way too many photos of genetic women as headers for articles about trans stuff. They’re just not capable of using the word “dress” without putting “cross” in front of it. “Learn how to crossdress like a pretty crossdresser for a crossdressed date with a non-crossdressed guy who loves crossdressers.” I exaggerate but you get the picture.
To the vast majority of of us, we feel that we dress for a date .. we don’t say we cross dress for our date.
Sadly out of touch.
Chat rooms certainly aren’t for everyone. But while the majority of you are sitting on the couch watching television shows, I’m one of those girls who prefers to casually interact with other girls.
Give a chat site a try. You might actually have fun! And please say hi if you see me there.
If you have a favorite chat site that I’ve missed, please let me know. I’d love to join and eventually add to this review. Also, if your feelings on anything I’ve mentioned differ from mine greatly, please let me know.